Mumps outbreak in Florida: Officials panic as cases soar to the highest in the last five years combined

This year’s mumps outbreak is the highest number of reported cases Florida has experienced in the last five years combined. 

At least 56 cases of mumps have been reported in the Sunshine State in 2017 across all ages.

Half of those cases are in patients who have received the MMR vaccination which is meant to prevent measles, mumps and rubella.

Though Florida is experiencing a significant rise in infections, it is well below outbreaks in other states that have seen hundreds of cases of mumps this year.

Florida had 56 reported cases of mumps this year - the highest rate of the virus in the past five years combined 

Florida had 56 reported cases of mumps this year - the highest rate of the virus in the past five years combined 

Florida had 56 reported cases of mumps this year – the highest rate of the virus in the past five years combined 

Health officials estimate that there are about 5,000 cases of reported mumps across the US this year.

The majority of those outbreaks are in Arkansas, Missouri, New York, Washington and Texas.  

In Florida, most infections were reported in Broward, Collier, Duval, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties, according to a Florida Department of Health. 

The 2017 count includes confirmed and probable cases, according to Brad Dalton, a health department spokesman, the Miami Herald reports.  

This is the largest mumps outbreak in Florida in the past decade, though infection rates have been steadily increasing the past couple of years.

In 2016 there were 16 cases and 2015 there were 10 reported cases, meaning 2017 showed a significant increase.

WHAT IS MUMPS? 

Mumps is a virus of the salivary gland.

It is spread through saliva, commonly on glasses, plates and cutlery.

The infection is incurable and can lead to devastating health concerns in adults.

Sufferers have lost their hearing, become infertile, and had swollen brains.

SYMPTOMS?

Some people do not experience any symptoms.

Typically, symptoms include puffy cheeks, swollen glands, headaches, a fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, and a lack of appetite.

Sufferers have described feeling pain in their stomach, neck, pelvis, and testicles. 

Health officials suspect that there are more cases that have gone unreported due to patients experiencing minor to no symptoms. 

Symptoms typically include swollen glands, puffy cheeks, headaches, fever chills and fatigue and usually appear about two weeks after being infected.

Mumps spreads through contact with infected saliva or mucus, commonly from sharing drinks or eating from the same cutlery. 

Outbreaks in Florida have been reported among those in close settings such as roommates or sports teammates.

Treatment for mumps focuses on relieving symptoms until the body’s immune system fights off the infection.

There are currently no medications to treat the mumps virus and it typically takes two weeks to fully recover.

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent contracting the infection is to receive the MMR vaccination which is effective 88 percent of the time.