Keystone Mumps Outbreak Grows To 26 Cases

Grace Hood/CPR News
A skier lines up to have his pass scanned at Keystone, part of Vail Resorts. Last season, the multinational company reported spending $2.4 million on energy efficient equipment, including snow guns.

A mumps outbreak that began in early February with only a handful of cases among Keystone Resort employees has ballooned to 26 affected people — including two who don’t work for the ski area. 

It’s the first time any cases outside of Keystone employees have been announced, but Keystone’s Loryn Roberson explained that health officials have told the resort there is minimal risk to resort guests and the community-at-large. She said the resort has created a support team to buy groceries and other necessities for affected employees who’ve been told to self-isolate.

“So we’re assisting them with by providing those meals and shopping so that they don’t have to go out in public, and they can just stay home and rest,” Roberson said. 

Keystone is also offering free vaccinations for employees. Typically, the measles, mumps and rubella shot is effective within three days. 

The outbreak was first discovered Feb. 2, when three Keystone employees were diagnosed with the mumps. The number has been rising, despite the health department holding free immunization clinics for employees. 

Mumps is a highly contagious virus that often causes swelling in the parotid glands on both sides of the face and often the salivary glands, as well. It’s often passed between people living in close proximity to one another through such transmission methods as kissing, sneezing or touching affected surfaces. 

This is not the first outbreak of the disease at a ski area in Summit County. Last May, a cluster of at least six cases were reported, all related to employees at A-Basin.