The contagious viral disease, mumps, has been confirmed at two university campuses this week–Northern Illinois University (NIU) and the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Whitewater.
The DeKalb County Health Department reported investigating a case of mumps in a Northern Illinois University (NIU) student Thursday.
Jane Lux, Public Health Administrator, said that while there has been only one probable case of mumps in DeKalb County in the last five years, she is not surprised to get this report due to multiple clusters of cases in central Illinois over the last several months.
As of Friday, Illinois has reported 243 mumps cases to date.
In Whitewater, WI Tuesday, officials at UW-Whitewater announced two confirmed cases of mumps in university students.
University Health and Counseling Service (UHCS) is working closely with the Walworth County Health Department to initiate the appropriate follow-up investigation with close contacts of cases.
UHCS and the health department encourage all community members to take the following steps to stay healthy and prevent spreading the illness to include ensuring you are up-to-date on your MMR immunizations, watch for symptoms even if you have been vaccinated and anyone suspected of having mumps is expected to stay home from school, work, or similar activities for five days.
Mumps is an acute infectious viral disease that can cause swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands in the cheeks and jaw.
The virus is spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing and by direct contact with saliva and discharges from the nose and throat of infected individuals. Mumps is contagious three days prior to and four days after the onset of symptoms.
Symptoms of mumps usually appear 14 days to 18 days of infection. They usually include fever, headache, and swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands, usually the parotid gland (located just below the front of the ear at the angle of the jaw). In mild cases the swelling may only last for three days to four days, but it may go on even up to a week or more. Approximately one-third of infected people do not exhibit symptoms. There is no specific treatment for mumps.
Most complications that may arise involve other organs. Mumps can cause pain and swelling of the testicles, deafness and arthritis. It can cause central nervous system disorders such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal column).