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Number of Possible Mumps Cases Rises To 41; D'Jais Open This Weekend

Beachfront bar at the center of the possible outbreak opens tonight.

State and county health departments are investigating 41 possible cases of mumps, with at least 25 of those tied to D’Jais Bar and Grill on the Belmar beachfront.

The Monmouth County Health Department, which is investigating 25 possible cases of mumps in the county, inspected and cleared the 18th Avenue bar Friday, according to a release. The bar will be open this weekend, its last of the season. 

The county health department previously had the lead in investigating 36 possible mumps cases throughout New Jersey and at least one case in Florida. The state Department of Health is now investigating those cases that are not in Monmouth County, according to the release. 

“The number of cases under investigation in Monmouth County has dropped because our Health Department is only investigating cases involving Monmouth County residents who have come forward to report mumps-like symptoms,” County public health coordinator Michael Meddis said in the release. “Another 16 cases are being investigated by the New Jersey Department of Health.”

The cases of possible mumps under investigation include those who have or had mumps-like symptoms as early as August 3, the release says.

All 25 of the Monmouth County cases under investigation have connections to D’Jais, eiether as patrons or employees, the release says. 

D’Jais voluntarily closed its last week in response to the suspected outbreak of mumps. On Sunday, county the Health Department immunized 32 D’Jais employees with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Three others were immunized on Sept. 11, according to the release.

On both occasions, several D’Jais employees also submitted immunization records that were evaluated for age appropriate MMR immunization, the release says.

 “If you believe that you may have been exposed to someone who has experienced mumps like symptoms, call the Monmouth County Health Department,” Meddis said in the release. “Our public health nurses can answer your questions and evaluate your need for additional follow-up.”

The Monmouth County Health Department continues to ask that anyone who is experiencing swelling of salivary glands along with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite should seek medical attention and call the Health Department at 732-431-7456.

The national Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the mumps virus is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.

“Healthcare providers and public health officials should remain vigilant for patients presenting with an illness clinically compatible with mumps,” said Meddis in the release. “To prevent the further spread of this disease, health care professionals need to continue to monitor and report every possible diagnosis of mumps.”

People who were vaccinated with two doses of the MMR vaccine, as an infant and again between the ages of 4 and 6, are 90 percent less likely to contract mumps, according to the CDC.

If you have mumps, or most other illnesses, there are several things you can do to help prevent spreading the virus to others:

• Wash hands well and often with soap, and teach children to wash their hands too.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

• Stay home from work or school for five days after your glands begin to swell, and try not to have close contact with other people who live in your house.

Other recommendations are:

• Minimize close contact with other people, especially babies and people with weakened immune systems who cannot be vaccinated.

• Don’t share drinks or eating utensils.

• Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes.

Mumps is spread saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.

Most mumps transmissions likely occur before the salivary glands begin to swell and within the 5 days after the swelling begins. Therefore, CDC recommends isolating mumps patients for 5 days after their glands begin to swell.

Anyone who presents such symptoms should contact their health care professional immediately. 

More information about mumps is available from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html.


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