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Officials warn of mumps outbreak after 14 reported cases in Colorado

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DENVER -- Public health officials warned of a large nationwide outbreak of mumps cases, including Colorado, where 14 cases have been reported this month, officials said Friday.

Among the 14 cases, 11 are in the Denver metro area. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Public Health and Tri-County Health Department are investigating the outbreak.

Officials said the five-year average is 5.6 cases per year. In Colorado, there were 17 cases reported in 2016.

Officials say the vaccine is safe and effective.

“Because of the high numbers of mumps cases across the country, it is especially important to make sure your children are vaccinated,” said Rachel Herlihy, director of the disease control and environmental epidemiology division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Both adults and children should make sure they are up to date on their mumps vaccine."

Mumps is a viral infection that causes painful swelling of the glands of the cheek and jaw. It is spread by direct human-to-human contact through respiratory droplets or saliva.

Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and headache. Symptoms usually appear 16 to 18 days after exposure.