Beware of mumps this winter season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Beware of mumps this winter season

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YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima Health District is investigating possible cases of mumps around Yakima County.

Fever, headache, fatigue, and swollen salivary glands and cheeks are the symptoms of mumps, and symptoms that have the Yakima Health District investigating possible cases in the county.

"2 are suspected," said David Miller, a Public Health nurse at the Yakima Health District, "so those are folks that maybe have symptoms of mumps, but they still need to go through the lab testing."

In total, there are three possible cases, the third being a probable case involving a preschool-age child who had contact with a mumps case from an outbreak in King County.

Miller says that the virus can be spread the same way as a common cold.

"If a person is coughing or sneezing, that is how it is spread to other people," Miller said. "They can touch surfaces with their contaminated saliva or nasal discharge."

And although some of the symptoms are the same as a fever, there is one big difference.

"The main hallmark of it is painful swollen salivary glands, which is in the cheek and jaw area, below the ear," said Miller.

Miller says that the best defense against the virus is the MMR vaccination, which is 88% effective against mumps.

"In this area we have a really good vaccination rates, and that is going to offer protection to most people," said Miller.

He adds that as long as people and children are up-to-date on their vaccinations, they should have very little to worry about.

Anyone who may be experiencing mump-like symptoms is encouraged to contact their doctor.