The Louisiana Department of Health confirms 12 mumps cases, and a state health official predicts this developing outbreak will only get worse. Medical director of the state Immunization Program Dr. Frank Welch says mumps has a long incubation period, which means it can be two to three weeks after someone is exposed before they show symptoms.
“A lot of times with a mumps outbreak, we start to see the initial cases, but we really do expect it to get worse before it gets better because there’s this three week lag time,” Welch said.
The first cluster of cases has been identified on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The university is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread among students and faculty. Welch says you can protect yourself by receiving two doses of the mumps vaccine and know the symptoms of mumps.
“Those are headache, fever, a real sense of tiredness, and then that jaw swelling just below your ear either on one or both sides,” Welch said.
Welch says if you see anyone exhibiting those symptoms, tell them to self-isolate and avoid other people. He says following these precautions will slow the mumps outbreak. He says with this being St. Patrick’s Day weekend, there’s a concern the disease will spread.
“We do not recommend, especially during this time, that people share cups, glasses, utensils, and since it’s St. Patrick’s day, I’m going to recommend that people not kiss because it is spread through saliva,” Welch said.