Just days after a mumps outbreak was declared at Normal, Illinois’ Heartland Community College, health officials have declared an outbreak at Illinois State University after The McLean County Health Department confirmed that there are three cases of the mumps virus linked to university as of Friday.

Image/National Atlas
Image/National Atlas

In Illinois, three or more linked cases within a community qualifies as an outbreak.

Illinois State University Student Health Services advise the community to ensure they are up to date on their MMR vaccinations. In addition, health officials advise to 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 and avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.

As of Friday, September 18, 2015, the Illinois Department of Public is reporting 193 cases of mumps statewide.

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 softdrink 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) in females who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63