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Summit County Government

Posted on: February 24, 2020

Summit County Public Health Continues Response to Mumps Outbreak

Local public health officials are working with CDPHE in ongoing local investigation

Contact: Sara Lopez, Nursing Manager, Summit County Public Health, 970-668-9709

SUMMIT COUNTY— Summit County Public Health, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is continuing its response to an outbreak of mumps among Keystone Resort employees.

To date, 17 cases of mumps have been identified. The number of cases is expected to change as the investigation continues. All cases have been employees at Keystone Resort.

"Because the general public is well immunized and the risk of catching mumps is greatest among close contacts of those with mumps, the risk to the general population remains low at this time," said Sara Lopez, nursing manager for Summit County Public Health.

Public health officials continue to coordinate closely with Keystone Resort, identifying possible cases and providing technical expertise and guidance to support employee health and slow the spread of mumps at resort facilities.

Immunization with the MMR vaccine is an important prevention strategy, especially when mumps is circulating among populations of individuals who live and work closely together. On Feb. 13, Summit County Public Health hosted an MMR vaccine clinic at Keystone Resort for close contacts of existing cases and individuals working at specific locations identified as being at high risk of exposure.

The health department has also been providing technical guidance and support to Vail Resorts to implement additional MMR vaccination services for other at-risk employee populations. The vaccine cannot prevent the disease in individuals who have already been exposed to the mumps virus, but it is the best defense against future transmission.

Public health officials believe there is low risk to members of the public who have had or will have interaction with Keystone Resort. However, given the number of cases in the current outbreak, it would not be unexpected to see some spillover into the general population. Immunization is the best protection, and people may want to check their vaccine status to ensure they are protected against mumps.

Mumps is a viral infection 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.

Mumps is spread from person to person by contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose or throat. People with mumps can spread the illness to others from two days before symptoms start and for five days after. Most people with mumps get better within two weeks with bed rest, fluids and medications to reduce pain and/or fever. 

Mumps is a different disease from measles. There are currently no cases of measles in Colorado. Both diseases are prevented by the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective but does not prevent mumps once you have been exposed.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for children, with the first dose at 12-15 months of age and the second dose at 4-6 years of age. Mumps vaccine immunity can decrease over time, so some people who have been vaccinated can get mumps. The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women.

Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to be vaccinated. People who are worried about mumps should check their vaccine status to ensure they are protected.

Additional prevention steps include:

  • Avoid sharing objects that may have saliva on them such as cups, smoking/vaping materials, straws, and water bottles. 
  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If tissues aren’t available, cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. 

Health officials are asking people who have symptoms of mumps to consult with their health care provider or call Summit County Public Health at 970-668-9161.

For more information about mumps, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at For information about mumps data in Colorado, visit

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