Medical Minute: what you need to know about the mumps

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MINOT, N.D. - Winter months may see an uptick in illnesses, especially cold and flu like symptoms. But year after year new reports of mumps have been reported.

The North Dakota Department of Health says five cases of the mumps have been reported: two in Williams County and three in Stark County.

Vaccines can help prevent infection, but cannot keep you from getting the disease all together.

“Most people will start developing symptoms around 16 days after an exposure,” Linda Larson, Division of Disease Control.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, earache, joint pain and several more. You may experience some of these symptoms, but it may not be mumps at all.

“We do the follow-ups when someone is confirmed with mumps or is suspected of having mumps. We do have them furlough from school or work, for the two days before and the five days after that onset of parotitis, because that is the most infectious period,” said Larson.

Parotitis, or the swelling of the glands in front of and below the ear or under the jaw, is a major symptom with mumps.

“Swelling can be significant at times. You see it, yes,” said Larson.

Mumps is spread by direct contact with mouth or nose discharge, that is why schools can be exposed to the disease.

The best way to reduce your chances of getting the mumps is to get vaccinated.