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Confirmed case of mumps reported in Whatcom County

Washington State has been hit by a mumps outbreak that before now had not reached Whatcom County. Yesterday, Whatcom County Department of Health (WCDH) officials announced the first confirmed case of mumps in the county during the outbreak.

The location of the case and who may have been exposed is not specified in the announcement but officials say they are working to notify those who may have been exposed.

As of May 3rd, there have been 823 confirmed and probable cases of mumps in Washington since October 2016 according to the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH). County totals are shown in the table at the end of this article.

WCHD said in their announcement they are “urging the public to watch for symptoms of mumps.”

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“Symptoms usually include swelling of the cheeks, neck or jaw; fever; headaches; muscles aches; tiredness or loss of appetite. Individuals who are concerned about these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider. Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to the mumps should also contact their healthcare provider. Sick individuals should stay home from work, school, or other public settings until they have been evaluated by their healthcare provider.”

WSDH also advises anyone who has been exposed to mumps and feels ill, “If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call your local health department or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.”

Laboratory tests came back negative for a suspected case of the mumps in Ferndale in January.

“The best way to prevent mumps is to get vaccinated”, said the WCHD in their announcement. Anyone unsure of their vaccination status should contact their healthcare provider to check their status. Immunization records can also be accessed at

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports Washington is one of 3 states currently reporting more than 300 cases of mumps this season. The other two are Missouri and Arkansas. 5 other states are reporting between 100 and 300 cases.

The CDC reports on their website,

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“Mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases [nationwide] can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For example in 2016, there were approximately 5,833 cases reported to CDC, and in 2012, there were 229. Before the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year, but the actual number of cases was likely much higher due to underreporting. Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States.”

See the table below for the number of confirmed and probable cases in Washington State since October 2016 as of May 3, 2017 as reported by WSDH.

County Cases
Benton County 3
Ferry County 3
Grant County 43
King County 296
Kitsap County 2
Okanogan County 2
Pend Oreille County 3
Pierce County 59
Skagit County 17
Snohomish County 60
Spokane County 324
Stevens County 1
Thurston County 6
Yakima County 4
Total 823

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