Mumps outbreak strikes Iowa, midwest United States

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mumps is a viral disease with flu-like symptoms, and spread in much the same way as the influenza virus shown here.

More than 600 suspected cases of mumps have been reported in Iowa since December, well above the state average of five cases a year. State and federal officials are searching for the source of the outbreak.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control are contacting passengers of several commercial flights that may have carried individuals infected with the virus. Mumps can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, and sharing cups or eating utensils.

Symptoms of the infection include headache, coughing, and most notably swelling of the glands at the base of the jaw. In some cases, mumps can lead to serious complications such as meningitis, sterility, and deafness. Most children in the United States are immunized against mumps.