Iowa’s newest export isn’t corn or soybeans — it’s a disease. Iowa is leading the nation by far with 515 mumps cases reported this year, and neighboring states are seeing an uptick in cases too.
Doug Schultz, spokesman for the Minnesota Health Department, says the mumps vaccine is supposed to be 95-percent effective, but seven in ten mumps patients in Iowa had already gotten the shot. Schultz says “There still is that five-percent or it could even be one-percent of the population that is vaccinated but still might be susceptible. For some reason the vaccines don’t take in everybody so they don’t quite have the full protection that they need.”
In the past several days, the number of mumps cases in Iowa rose by about 150. Schultz says Minnesota now has seven confirmed cases with about a dozen more suspected. Schultz says “We’re doing everything we can to monitor the situation and making sure physicians are acutely aware of mumps so that they can report cases to us and the sooner we know about cases the more we can stop the spread.”
An official with the Iowa Department of Public Health says Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin are all seeing mumps cases appear near the border. South Dakota is the only border state where -no- cases are reported. Symptoms include: swollen glands, headache and fever. Schultz says some ways to stop the virus from spreading are washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and staying home when you’re sick.