Via Kansas City infoZine: Mumps Outbreak Tests Pandemic Plans.
"It's nice that it's the mumps. It's a dirty little disease, but it's very rarely fatal. You would like to learn on something that doesn't kill people," said David Lawton, who oversees disease surveillance for Nebraska's health agency.
Outside Iowa and Nebraska, mumps has been reported in Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Oklahoma, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms of the mumps include flu-like pains, such as a fever or headache, and the swelling of the salivary glands. There have been no reported deaths.
Lawton said the Nebraska outbreak has allowed the state to test two communications systems. The first sends emergency advisories to health officials and every physician in the state; the second tracks outbreak cases in almost real-time for health investigators. "No other state has this level of connectivity," Lawton said.
If nothing else, the mumps outbreak has provided what we educators call a "teachable moment." Health experts in the Midwest have had a lucky break, and they're doubtless learning a lot.
The next step will be to pass along what they've learned to the colleagues across the nation and around the world.