The McDonough County Health Department and Beu Health Center at Western Illinois University has confirmed a mumps case at WIU’s Macomb campus. The student, who resides on campus, was examined at Beu Health Center last week after experiencing symptoms and returned home for the required five-day isolation period following the onset of symptoms.

Infographic aimed at college students depicting symptoms of mumps and steps they can take to protect themselves.
Infographic aimed at college students depicting symptoms of mumps and steps they can take to protect themselves.

According to John Smith, Beu Health Center director, this is the first confirmed case of the mumps on the WIU campus. Since 2015, there have been numerous cases of mumps confirmed in college-age students throughout campuses in Illinois and Iowa.

Students who have any symptoms of the mumps should isolate themselves and contact Beu Health Center immediately by calling (309) 298-1888.

“Please do not come directly to the health center without calling. If you have mumps symptoms we need to take precautions during your visit so that we do not infect other patients using the health center,” Smith explained.

If a diagnosis for mumps is made, the student will be encouraged to return home. If that is not an option, the University has quarantine facilities available, Smith added.

The mumps virus spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, kissing or talking; sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils; and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands.

LISTEN: Mumps: Canada, the virus and the vaccine and why the comeback

In an effort to maintain a healthy campus community, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take the following precautions to avoid the mumps virus:

  • Make sure your MMR vaccine is up-to-date. If you are unsure if you received two doses of the MMR vaccine, get vaccinated. Students who have not received the required doses have been contacted, Smith noted.

Individuals who have had the mumps virus are immune (an additional vaccination is unnecessary).Students can check immunization records online at Beu Health Center. Students can receive an MMR vaccination by contacting Student Health Services at (309) 298-1888. Faculty and staff contact should contact their healthcare provider.

  • Wash your hands well and often with soap and water.
  • Do not share eating utensils and beverages with others.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces with soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.

Watch for mumps symptoms, even if fully vaccinated. Initial symptoms include:

– Muscle aches
– Loss of appetite
– Generalized discomfort
– Headache
– Low-grade fever

– After a period of one to two days, symptoms may progress to:
– Swelling in one or both of the salivary glands in front of the ears
– Pain / tenderness along the jaw
– Swelling / pain in testicles in males (post-puberty); lower abdominal pain from swelling of ovaries in females who have reached puberty (< 20% of cases)

“We are providing as much information to educate the campus community about the mumps virus and how to prevent or treat the illness,” Smith added. “Please help each other remain healthy by following these good health practices.”