- Associated Press - Sunday, February 18, 2018

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Doctors confirmed the presence of mumps in Juneau for the first time in more than two decades.

There has been one confirmed case of the disease in Juneau as of Thursday, and three other possible cases, Juneau Public Health Center nurse manager Alison Gaines said.

The first case was diagnosed in January, with the most recent suspected case appearing this past week, Gaines said.

This is the first confirmed case of mumps in Juneau since 1997, Alaska Division of Public Health Epidemiologist Amanda Tiffany said.

Mumps is a contagious disease that causes swelling in a person’s salivary glands. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. The disease is almost never fatal, the Juneau Empire reported .

“I think the perception is that mumps is not such a big deal, like, ‘Well, you have it and then it goes away,’ but if you speak with anyone who had it, they were miserable,” Tiffany said.

A mumps outbreak began in Anchorage in the summer of 2017. There have been 247 cases statewide (214 confirmed and 33 probable) since May of 2017, Tiffany said, with 96 percent of them being in Anchorage.

The lone confirmed case in Juneau was in a person who had recently traveled to Anchorage, Gaines said.

The Department of Public Health sent a notice Monday to the Juneau School District and to licensed daycares alerting them to the recent outbreak. Early symptoms are similar to that of a regular cold, but those who believe they have mumps should call their doctor and set up an appointment, Tiffany said. Physicians will likely advise people to isolate themselves for the five days after facial swelling starts.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com


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