By Audra Streetman

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – An outbreak of mumps continues to spread in Summit County. Public health officials confirm a 6th employee at Keystone Resort tested positive for the viral disease.

(credit: Keystone Resort)

Officials said the risk of mumps spreading to the public is very low. The outbreak was first reported on Wednesday among three employees.

“We are continuing our investigation and providing technical assistance and support to our partners at Vail Resorts in an effort to slow the spread of disease,” said Sara Lopez, Nurse Manager at Summit County Public Health. “All cases are linked to the employee population and at this time, we have no knowledge of further spread into the community.”

(credit: CBS)

The MMR Vaccine, which covers measles, mumps and rubella is considered 88% effective at preventing mumps from spreading.

Mumps is a viral infection that causes painful swelling in the glands of the cheek and jaw. Other symptoms may include low-grade fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. About one-third of people who have the virus don’t have symptoms. Rare symptoms can include swollen testicles, meningitis (infection in the spinal fluid), encephalitis (infection in the brain) and loss of hearing.

Mumps is spread from person to person by contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose or throat. People with mumps can spread the illness to others from two days before symptoms start and for five days after. Most people with mumps get better within two weeks with bed rest, fluids and medications to reduce pain and/or fever.

(credit: CBS)

Mumps is a different disease from measles. There are currently no cases of measles in Colorado. Both diseases are prevented by the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective but does not prevent mumps once you have been exposed.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for children, with the first dose at 12-15 months of age and the second dose at 4-6 years of age. Mumps vaccine immunity can decrease over time, so some people who have been vaccinated can get mumps. The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to be vaccinated, but other adults should make sure they have been vaccinated.

Health officials are asking people who have symptoms of mumps to consult with their health care provider or call Summit County Public Health at 970-668-9161.

For more information about mumps, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/mumps. For information about mumps data in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/mumps.

Audra Streetman

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