The Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services and the Municipality of Anchorage are warning residents about the recent spread of mumps after more than a dozen cases of the disease have been confirmed in Anchorage.

Authorities say there are now 13 confirmed cases of mumps that have been diagnosed recently, and most of the cases have occurred in young adults. 

DHSS is encouraging medical personnel to be alert to possible mumps cases, and they’re urging residents to review their vaccination history and verify all vaccinations are current; health officials are encouraging everyone to contact their healthcare provider to ensure you've had two doses of the MMR vaccine, which is available at local pharmacies.

Nearly all ASD students have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, the health department says. 

Large outbreaks of mumps have occurred this year across the country, officials say; state health officials believe a traveler from Outside may have brought the virus to Anchorage. 

DHHS released the following information related to the mumps viral illness:

  • Mumps is a contagious, vaccine-preventable viral illness.
  • Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands (parotitis). Other symptoms often include fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
  • Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection (range 12-25 days).
  • Persons with mumps are most infectious from 2 days prior to 5 days after the onset of parotitis. Therefore, persons with suspected mumps must be isolated for 5 days after swelling onset. Infected people without symptoms of mumps may still be able to transmit the virus.
  • Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks.
  • Mumps is spread through respiratory droplets (created when you cough and sneeze) and saliva. Sharing cups and utensils may also spread the virus.
  • Two doses of the mumps vaccination are about 88% effective at preventing mumps. That means that if you have 100 people who are fully vaccinated, 88 of them will be fully protected. The remaining 12 will still be vulnerable to mumps.
  • In 2016 and 2017, several states have experienced large mumps outbreaks, including an outbreak in Arkansas involving nearly 3,000 cases. In the Arkansas outbreak, >90% of school-aged children and >30% of adults who became ill were fully immunized against mumps.