Neosho County Health Department Nurse Donna Bates said the health department has made all the doctors and health departments aware of the potential spread of mumps into Neosho County.
There are 56 reported cases across 12 counties: Atchison, Barton, Crawford, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Franklin, Johnson, Marshall, Riley, Rooks and Thomas.
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that spreads through saliva. Other symptoms can at times include low-grade fevers, malaise, loss of appetite, headache and more, but not all who have mumps will exhibit symptoms.
Complications from mumps, although rare, can include inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, breasts and/or brain, according to the health department. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks. "But, as the past few months have shown us, outbreaks of mumps continue to occur in Canada, mostly in young adults".
The median age of those now infected in Kansas is 20 years old.
Because mumps is preventable with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, it is uncommon in the United States with only 229 cases being reported in 2012.
"We always get concerned anytime that we have any type of outbreak, especially with a vaccine-preventable illness like mumps", said Camille Sabella, Director of Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases. One dose is about 78 percent effective, according to the CDC.
During outbreaks, a third booster dose of MMR in the highest risk populations may further protect individuals in the event of future exposure to mumps, and limit the size and duration of mumps outbreaks.
"Mumps can be prevented through immunization with two doses of mumps vaccine", Dr. Daniela Kempkens, acting medical officer of health, said in a news release.
With four confirmed cases of mumps at Barrington schools and 35 probable or suspect cases in the area, the Lake County Health Department announced Friday that it plans to team with Barrington School District 220 to conduct a vaccination clinic for staff, faculty and students affiliated with Barrington High School to take place early next week. Manitoba has been hardest hit with 192 confirmed cases of mumps since September 1, the highest number seen in 20 years. Since the beginning of fall semester, there have been 360 cases of mumps at the school, said spokesman Christian Basi.