Mumps outbreak among gay men sparks public health alert
An outbreak of mumps among gay men in Los Angeles has sparked a public health warning.
Mumps is highly contagious and can spread rapidly through kissing and saliva among communities.
An outbreak was declared this week in Los Angeles County, with authorities warning that it had spread predominately among men who have sex with men.
The Department of Public Health issued an alert that warns the disease is spreading at gay bars and nightclubs.
It says: “In LA County and surrounding areas, there is currently a mumps outbreak involving over 40 patients.
“The majority of these cases are among MSM (men who have sex with men), but some are women and heterosexual men with social connections to MSM cases.
“Most transmissions appear to have occurred at large venues such as athletic clubs, bars, theaters and nightclubs.”
It adds: “Mumps typically begins with a few days of fever, headache, myalgia, fatigue, and anorexia followed by development of salivary gland swelling, pain, and tenderness.
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“Mumps is highly infectious and is transmitted by contact with airborne respiratory secretions or saliva or through fomites.
“A major factor contributing to outbreaks of mumps is being in a crowded environment.
“Also, certain behaviours that result in exchanging saliva, such as kissing or sharing utensils, cups, lipstick or cigarettes, may increase the spread of the virus.”
Health experts are working to contain the outbreak, and are considering rolling out an extra dose of the MMR vaccine among “high risk individuals “.
The department is also encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Since the introduction of the MMR vaccine, Mumps rates have dropped by 99 percent.
However, there are still sporadic outbreaks.