A mumps outbreak is ongoing in the state of Hawaii, where 557 cases have been reported since the beginning of the year (as of November 9). The disease has been confirmed in the counties of Honolulu, Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui.
Even individuals vaccinated against the disease - both children and adults - have been affected, leading health officials to recommend booster shots for certain groups: notably people born after 1956 who live, work, or attend school in crowded conditions. According to Hawaiian law, individuals diagnosed with mumps are legally prohibited from attending school, working, or traveling for nine days following the onset of parotitis (inflammation of the salivary glands).
Mumps is an extremely contagious viral disease which is spread via airborne droplets emitted from the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite, followed by the swelling of the salivary (parotid) glands that can lead to difficulties in chewing and swallowing; the disease is asymptomatic in 20 percent of cases. Adult males without immunity are particularly susceptible to a more severe forms of mumps.
Individuals in or planning to travel to Hawaii are advised to verify that their mumps vaccination and any necessary booster shots are up to date and to take hygienic precautions.