WASHINGTON - Mumps is a nasty viral infection and there are occasional outbreaks this time of year, even though most people receive childhood immunizations to guard against the condition.
But more than 100 cases have been reported in Virginia, most of them at the University of Richmond.
And more than 70 cases have been reported in Maryland, most at Loyola University in Baltimore.
"It's most common in cases in teenagers, where they're in school, they get exposed to another person who has it," says Dr. Vincent Hayes, an emergency room physician at Washington Adventist Hospital.
Hayes says he's not yet seen cases at the hospital, but the most common time for mumps is late winter and early spring.
Hayes says mumps acts like other viral illnesses, with one notable exception.
"The most common symptoms are the symptoms you see with any type of viral infection. That would be malaise. You may feel like you have a loss of appetite. You may have chills, fever, sore throat. Mumps is specific though in that it affects the salivary glands right in front of the ear called the parotid glands," Hayes says.
To prevent the spread of mumps, people should wash their hands, cover their faces when they cough or sneeze and stay home when sick.
This story has been modified to correct the name of the hospital.
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