Mumps outbreak reaches Finney County

Non-vaccinated people are encouraged to get the vaccine.

FINNEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A mumps outbreak has been spreading across the state, and an outbreak was declared in Finney County just in the past 24 hours.

Mumps is a pretty rare disease and one that Finney County doesn’t see very often.

“There’s even some providers that have never even seen the actual disease,” said Michelle Gomez, the charge nurse of the Finney County Health Department, “because it’s been so long since we’ve had it around.”

One case popped up in Finney County on February 15. An investigation is underway to track the disease and look for potential carriers.

“Initially, we start getting all his close contacts,” said Gomez, “or hers, just so that way we know who we need to be watching to make sure they don’t get sick.”

Now, with three known adult infections, the Kansas Department of Health & Environment is calling it an outbreak.

“For the county,” said Colleen Drees the director of the Finney County Health Department, “it really means to take precautions to help decrease the chances of this outbreak getting larger.”

Mumps can have an incubation time of more than two weeks, so the department is urging people to be extra cautious.

“There’s always that worry with any kind of outbreak of any kind of contagious disease that people don’t wash hands as frequently as possible and that they do share drinks with people that can be infected and just not know,” said Drees.

The health department is recommending anyone not already vaccinated to get the vaccine in case the spread continues.

“If you were exposed to mumps,” said Gomez, “getting the vaccine now isn’t going to help protect for that, but if there’s any other cases that pop up, it’ll help you have protection against those.”

About 12 percent of those vaccinated may still get the mumps, but in those cases, the symptoms are less severe.

So far, only adults have been affected, and it hasn’t hit the schools. The Garden City school district and the health department are keeping an eye out, just in case.

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