6 mumps cases connected to Arapahoe Basin identified by health officials

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Health officials are investigating six cases of mumps connected to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Summit County.

Summit County Public Health said Friday that it is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to investigate the small cluster of mumps.

All of those with the contagious disease are associated with or employed by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

"Public health officials believe there is minimal risk to members of the public who have had interaction with the ski area, and there is currently no known spread into the larger community," SCPH said in a press release.

SCPH said transmission of the disease is most common in places where people are close to one another for long periods of time, such as work places or homes.

Mumps can be prevented by the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

"Population-wide vaccination for mumps is likely high enough to protect against widespread transmission of the virus. Individuals may want to check their vaccine status to ensure they are protected against mumps," SCPH said.

SCPH's nursing manager Sara Lopez said Arapahoe Basin is fully cooperating with the agency "to support affected employees and protect all staff and the public."

Mumps is a viral illness that causes painful swelling in the glands of the cheek and jaw.

"Other symptoms may include low-grade fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. About one-third of people who have the virus don’t have symptoms. Rare symptoms can include swollen testicles, meningitis (infection in the spinal fluid), encephalitis (infection in the brain) and loss of hearing," SCPH said.

Most people with mumps recover within two weeks by resting, drinking lots of fluids and taking medication to reduce pain.

Those with mumps symptoms should consult their health care provider or call SCPH at: 970-668-9161.

Arapahoe Basin published the following statement Friday:

"This is less than great news, but I want to be open and honest. Six cases of mumps have been identified among people associated with or employed by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

State and county public health officials think there is minimal risk to people who had interaction with the ski area and there is currently no known spread into the larger community.

The health and safety of our guests and employees is of the highest importance. We communicated with our staff and Summit County Public Health as soon as we found out about it. We have followed all of their recommendations on appropriate actions to take.

We are extremely grateful to state and county public health officials for their help and guidance and will continue to fully coordinate and cooperate with them."

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