Local officials confirm mumps case in Sabetha

Fifty-six cases of the contagious disease – mumps – have been reported by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). A letter was sent home with Sabetha students on Wednesday, March 8, acknowledging a possible case of mumps among its students at Sabetha High School.

The Kansas USA Wrestling community also issued a press release on Thursday, March 9, confirming that mumps transmission had been documented at several wrestling tournaments in Kansas.

One case has been confirmed in Sabetha, said Jane Sunderland, Nemaha County Community Health Services administrator.

Other Kansas counties affected by mumps include Atchison, Barton, Crawford, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Franklin, Johnson, Marshall, Riley, Rooks and Thomas.

KDHE has not identified all of the sources of these mumps infections, which means “yet to be identified kids or adults may still spread the disease at other wrestling events,” the Kansas USA Wrestling press release said.

KDHE and local health departments are working closely together to identify cases and implement appropriate isolation and exclusions policies to prevent further spread of mumps.


Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides of the face. Mumps can cause possible complications, such as inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, meningitis, encephalitis or deafness.

Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. Anyone with symptoms of mumps should contact their physician right away and isolate themselves for five days after onset of swollen salivary glands. They should not go to work, school or any social activities. If someone with suspected mumps must leave their home to seek medical care, a surgical mask should be worn at all times, and contact with others minimized.

Mumps virus spreads from person to person through droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person. An infected person can spread the virus through the following:

• Coughing, sneezing or talking.

• Sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others.

• Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

After being exposed to the mumps virus, it may take between 12 and 25 days before any symptoms will begin to show. Persons with mumps can spread the virus two days before the onset of swollen salivary glands up to five days after the swelling begins.


Per Kansas law (Kansas Administrative Regulation – K.A.R. 28-1-6), all mumps cases are required to remain home and not attend school or any public gatherings until five days after onset of swollen salivary glands. Suspected mumps patients should especially avoid contact with persons who are not vaccinated or who are immunocompromised. In addition, unvaccinated students who come in close contact with a mumps case will be excluded from school attendance for up to 26 days.

In addition to staying isolated when you have mumps, you can help prevent the spread of the virus by:

• Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

• Washing your hands often with soap and water.

• Avoiding sharing drinks or eating utensils.

• Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables and counters.

The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the disease. People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to the mumps virus.

Sunderland said it is important that caregivers and parents of infants or other individuals who have not been vaccinated with the MMR vaccination should practice good handwashing and avoid crowds during outbreaks.

Despite receiving both doses of MMR, individuals can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease. If a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illnesses than an unvaccinated person.

The single most effective control measure is maintaining the highest possible level of immunization in the community. Protect your children by having them vaccinated when they are 12 to 15 months old and again between 4 and 6 years of age.

Call Nemaha County Community Health Services at 785-284-2152 with questions or to find out if your child is up-to-date on the MMR vaccination.

For more information about mumps, visit https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html.


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