CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina Health Officials issuing a warning after seven confirmed cases of the Mumps were reported in the month of April.
The cases were in Wake, Orange and Watauga counties, primarily impacting elementary and college students.
Appalachian State University confirms two students on their campus have come down with the virus last month along with a student attending the Watauga campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.
The virus had been on the decline for years. However, 5,833 cases were reported in 2016 according to the CDS. This was the most cases in a decade. There have been 2,570 cases in 2017, which is second highest of any year since 2006.
"Mumps is a virus so it is spread by contact with other people, especially close contact such as sharing any food or drink or anything like that," said Dr. Joseph Loibissio, a Pediatrician with Henby's Children Hospital in Charlotte. "It is very important to get vaccinated."
The MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella are given in two doses, usually at ages one to four. Combined, it can increase immunity to nearly 90 percent.
"Since thre is no 100 percent vaccination, it is important that everybody that can to get the vaccine to provide what we call herd immunity so that it gives protection to those the vaccines don't work as well for," said Dr. Loibissio.
Mumps symptoms can include fever, headaches and muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. However, most people associate the virus with swelling of the salivary gland. Dr. Loiblissio says this doesn't always happen.
"The biggest misconception about mumps, is that it always cause swelling in the cheeks and that's only about 50 percent of the time," he explained.
If you don't know your vaccination status, state health officials encourage you to check with your doctor. To prevent the spread of the virus, you can wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, cover mouth when coughing and not share cups or utensils with others.
For more information about mumps, you can visit http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/mumps.html