The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s McKinley Health Center says that up to 10 people (nine students and one staff member) have been clinically diagnosed with the mumps since returning from spring break. Laboratory confirmation of the cases is pending.
The News-Gazette reports, since spring break, school health officials have seen about two cases a week. Dr. Robert Palinkas, director of the U. of I. McKinley Health Center, said, “The earliest cases have recovered. We’ve been very careful about isolation. Most of those students went home with parents.”
All nine students had been vaccinated for mumps, but Palinkas says the vaccine is only about 80 to 85 percent effective. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 65 mumps cases to date. This compares to 26 cases during all of last year and 32 in 2012.
The UI-Urbana-Champaign outbreak is latest in a string of mumps outbreaks on university campuses. The best known being the Ohio State University outbreak, which includes 287 cases in the Central Ohio area and 172 cases linked to the university. To put this outbreak in perspective, the Central Ohio area mumps outbreak has more than 60 percent of all cases nationwide.
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.
Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications.
The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.
Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord(encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) infemales who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.