Health Department: Iredell Mumps cases linked to Lowe’s Corporate

WSIC File Photo
WSIC File Photo


Iredell County Health Department reports both cases in Iredell County are linked to the same workplace. This workplace is not where the virus originated. The majority of this investigation has been found in Lowes Corporate Office in Mooresville, where employees often travel internationally. This is not related to Lowe’s retail stores. Although mumps is no longer very common in the United States, cases and outbreaks still occur here and will continue to occur as long as mumps remains common in other parts of the world.

It is important for everyone in the community to be aware of the symptoms of mumps and to make sure he or she is fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine to prevent this virus from spreading. “People who haven’t received the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) or aren’t sure should ask their doctor about getting the vaccine,” according to Zack Moore, NC Medical Epidemiologist.

Public health officials are working vigilantly to actively seek any person may have had contact with a confirmed case and/or who is having symptoms similar to mumps. “Individuals with symptoms such as: fever, headache, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, muscle ache, pain or discomfort, and tender and/or swelling of the glands below the ears should contact their physician. We strongly advise you contact your physician BEFORE visiting the healthcare facility, if you feel you may have been exposed to mumps and/or if you have symptoms similar to the virus so preventative measures can be taken. Medical Providers are being asked by the Health Department to screen patients for these symptoms.

A person with mumps or suspected of having the virus, should not go to work, participate in group activities, or have visitors for 5 days after the salivary glands swell, or until mumps is ruled out. If you are unsure of your mumps vaccination status, it is highly advised to visit your physician who will determine if you need a vaccine. Public health always encourages everyone to keep their immunization records up to date and the MMR vaccine is no exception.

We want to remind you, mumps outbreaks can happen even in highly vaccinated populations. Annually the number of reported mumps cases can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand in the United States. Iredell County Health Department wants the community to educate themselves about the symptoms, transmission, and prevention of mumps.

Here are some answers to some of your questions:

  • Mumps is a viral infection of the salivary glands.
  • The virus is found in mucous, saliva, and respiratory droplets.
  • It is spread through: coughing, sneezing, talking, coming in contact with a person’s saliva. For example: sharing eating utensils, water bottles, cups, food, and more.
  • Sanitize hard surfaces that are often touched by others.
  • Symptoms start 12-25 days after you are exposed to the virus. A person is more likely to spread the virus in 1-2 days before and up to 5 days after the salivary glands begin to swell. See symptoms above.
  • Two different vaccines can prevent mumps–only works before exposure to the virus: MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) and MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Chicken Pox also known as Varicella vaccines).
  • Adults born in 1957 or later should have documentation of one MMR vaccine, lab evidence of mumps immunity, or should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • International travelers, college students, and healthcare workers are recommended to have two doses of MMR vaccine for protection.
  • Adults in a community experiencing an outbreak or recently exposed to the disease should have 2 doses of MMR.
  • There is no treatment for mumps (antibiotics are not effective against a virus), but some medications can help relieve symptoms.
  • Practicing good hygiene habits will help reduce illnesses. Get into the habit of regularly washing your hands with soap and water, sneezing and coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and avoid sharing when you or someone else is eating or drinking.

Please contact Tawana Covington RN, Communicable Disease Program Manager or Rachael Cope RN Communicable Disease Nurse by calling (704) 878-5300

Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about Mumps at:

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