Mumps cases in Arkansas top 1,500

The Arkansas Department of Health is now investigating 1,514 cases of the mumps in an outbreak primarily associated with the northwest part of the state, according to Monday's update.

The new count marks a 244 case increase since Nov. 17, and includes both laboratory confirmed cases and cases currently under investigation. The outbreak has affected 32 workplaces, four school districts, three colleges, one private school and one state public school. While the outbreak began in the northwestern portion of the state, cases have since cropped up in central and southwestern Arkansas.

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The mumps are best known for painful, swollen salivary glands that cause puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. It is a highly communicable disease transmitted by person-to-person contact and is typically accompanied by initial symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.

While more than 90 percent of children infected in the outbreak have been up to date on their vaccines, only 30 percent to 40 percent of infected adults have been appropriately vaccinated.

According to the CDC, two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine are 88 percent effective at preventing the mumps.

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