SPOKANE, Wash - The Spokane mumps epidemic is only getting worse, according to new numbers from the Spokane Regional Health District.
Health officials said the rise is in outbreak is concerning.There are now 269 verified mumps cases in the county and that number is expected to rise.
Another big concern is an increase in adults affected by the virus. 32 percent of mumps cases are now sickening adults.
According the the health district, there are more than 600 cases of mumps statewide making it the biggest outbreak the state has seen since the 1970's. Spokane accounts for nearly half of those cases.
"In 1977 there were 300 and some cases reported in the state for the entire year, and we're already approaching almost 600 and it's only March," said Anna Halloran, an epidemiologist for the health district.
Health officials said the MMR vaccine is still the best way to protect you and your family from the mumps. Complications from the mumps can be serious and can lead to hearing loss or even sterilization. Frequent hand washing, avoiding sick people and staying home when you're sick also helps minimize the spread.