Mumps outbreak at Keystone Resort grows to 26 infections, including two non-employees
The Summit County public health department announced Thursday that an outbreak of mumps originating at Keystone Resort had reached 26 cases. Of the total, 24 are Keystone employees and 2 are non-employees. County officials said that number is expected to change as the public health investigation continues.
The outbreak began with three reported cases among Keystone Resort employees on Feb. 2 and infected numbers have increased steadily since then. Thursday’s announcement was the first confirmation of non-employee infections. County officials said they were still investigating how the two non-employees, both Summit County residents, were infected.
However, county representatives said that there was minimal risk of infection to resort guests and the community at large, and that the risk was limited to persons who are in close physical contact with infected persons.
County government communications director Julie Sutor and county public health Nurse Manager Sara Lopez provided the information Thursday afternoon during a media conference call.
Mumps is caused by a virus that is transmitted through saliva or respiratory droplets, and affects the salivary glands, causing pain and visible swelling in the mouth and cheeks. People infected with mumps may experience fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Transmission methods may include kissing, coughing, sneezing, and touching contaminated surfaces.
A total of 67 mumps cases were recorded in Colorado in 2019.
Lopez said that infected persons are contagious with the disease as early as two days before symptoms appear and up to five days after. Outbreaks may occur in situations where people spend a lot of time together indoors, such as with large families, sports teams and dormitories. The disease is self curable through isolation, bed rest, medications and fluid intake. Recovery can take up to two weeks.
Lopez said that the best method to avoid contracting mumps is the Measle, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The prescribed schedule for the MMR vaccine is two doses for children, with one dose between 12 and 15 months of age and another between 4 and 6 years of age.
Adults born before 1957 are considered immune to the disease. Adults born after 1957 can also be vaccinated if they have not already, with one or two doses recommended. Vaccinations are not 100% reliable, and effectiveness may decrease over time.
Aside from getting vaccinated or re-vaccinated, Lopez said that best practices for avoiding mumps contraction includes practicing good hygiene, including frequent hand and clothes washing, wiping down surfaces, avoiding contact with persons showing symptoms of mumps and self-isolating if such symptoms appear.
Vail Resorts Communications Manager Loryn Roberson said that the resort is ensuring that infected employees are under self-quarantine in their living quarters. Roberson added that Vail Resorts was providing assistance to the infected employees with a support team that is providing medical transport, assistance with shopping and meals, financial assistance and other services.
Roberson said that any Keystone employee who wishes to get vaccinated may get their shots for free at the St. Anthony Keystone Medical Clinic, located at 1252 County Road 8 in Keystone.
For more information about free vaccinations, contact the Keystone clinic at (970) 468-6677.