Mumps Exposure at Rugby Tournament

Public health leaders in North Carolina are urging increased vigilance against mumps after a 21-year-old resident of New Hanover County developed symptoms of the disease earlier this week.

Mumps is an infectious disease best known for causing swelling of the cheeks and jaw. It is often spread by coughing and sneezing.  Mumps is usually a mild disease, but it can occasionally cause serious complications.  Most children in the United States are vaccinated against mumps before entering kindergarten. 

The 21-year-old New Hanover County resident may have been infected with mumps after interacting with members of an English rugby team who were traveling in Wilmington, the Triangle, and Virginia earlier this month.  One person from that rugby team has been diagnosed with mumps, and four other team members have developed symptoms consistent with the disease.  Each of those individuals is now in England.

“This outbreak of mumps clearly demonstrates how vaccine-preventable diseases are just a plane ride away,” state Epidemiologist Megan Davies, MD,  said.  “Vaccination is your best protection against this disease.”

The New Hanover County Health Department is tracking the suspect case with help from the N.C. Division of Public Health.


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