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January 1990

Mumps Transmission in Hospitals

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Field Services, Epidemiology Program Office (Dr Wharton), and the Surveillance, Investigations, and Research Branch, Division of Immunization, Center for Prevention Services (Dr Cochi), Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga; Communicable Disease Control, Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, Nashville (Drs Wharton, Hutcheson, and Schaffner); and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn (Dr Schaffner).

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(1):47-49. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390130063006

• Although sporadic transmission of mumps within hospitals to patients and staff is well documented, outbreaks of mumps within hospitals have only rarely been reported. The widespread mumps outbreaks that occurred in Tennessee in 1986-1987 provided an opportunity to assess the extent of the problems caused by mumps in hospitals. Information was obtained from 146(95%) of 154 infection control practitioners in the state. Infection control problems caused by mumps were reported from 17 (12%) of 146 hospitals. The 17 hospitals in which these incidents occurred were located in counties that accounted for 67% of the reported mumps cases statewide during this period. Although most cases of mumps in health care workers were community-acquired, six health care workers in three different hospitals developed mumps following nosocomial exposure. In two institutions, nine patients contracted mumps while hospitalized. Both were long-term–care facilities housing adolescents, who had substantial contact with a community where mumps outbreaks were ongoing. This study suggests that mumps poses a small but real risk to both patients and staff in hospitals, particularly in long-term– care facilities caring for adolescents and young adults. In communities where mumps activity is ongoing, hospitals should consider identifying potentially susceptible staff members at risk for infection and offering vaccine. Likewise, susceptible patients in long-term-care facilities should be immunized.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:47-49)