With the largest US outbreak of mumps in two decades surrounding Oklahoma, health workers in northeastern Oklahoma are on alert.
The Tulsa City-County Health Department says so far, Oklahoma doesnâ€™t have any confirmed cases of the rare childhood illness, but eight counties have at least one suspected patient.
â€œIt's a concern for us it gives us a heads up to remind people to keep their children's immunizations on schedule as well as taking care of themselves and making sure that they have that second MMR shot." Janice Sheehan says Oklahoma hasn't had to worry about mumps because the state requires 2 doses of the vaccine before kindergarten.
Mumps is highly contagious and it causes some flu-like symptoms with one painful difference. "You definitely, if you see somebody with mumps their whole neckline is swollen."
Sheehan says those with shots up to date probably don't have anything to worry about, but there's always a risk. "We have very good vaccine coverage for the illness to prevent the illness in the vaccines that we do have, but nothing is one hundred percent."
Those infected with the virus are contagious days before any symptoms appear.
Concerns began after an Iowa epidemic spread to six surrounding states.