This blog often covers historical events. But today's story is not from the 1930s or 1940s.
Mumps has returned to Saline County.
Area media report a mumps outbreak that began in June on the campus of Midland University in Fremont continues to spread across counties in Nebraska.
A total of 42 cases of mumps have been reported in Nebraska, including the most recent case of an adult testing positive for the disease in Saline County after contracting it in Iowa, where there have been more than 500 cases.
The mumps virus can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, and is most contagious the three days before symptoms appear and the five days following.
Because the mumps outbreak is continuing, people who have not had the mumps and have not been immunized are encouraged to get immunized. To keep a patient from spreading the virus to others, isolation is recommended for five days after parotitis begins. (In the old days, when our nation had survival instincts, health officials would quarantine entire families until the threat had passed.)
In addition to staying away from others if you contract the mumps, you can help prevent the virus from spreading by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid sharing drinks and frequently disinfect community surfaces.
So why is mumps -- along with other nasty diseases of the days gone by, like tuberculosis, measles and scarlet fever -- returning in large numbers decades after vaccines had reduced it to a mere blip on the radar? Two reasons:
- Immigration from third-world countries; and
- A fringe of U.S. citizens who oppose giving vaccinations to their kids, thereby putting more children at risk of contamination.