With three confirmed cases of mumps at Barrington High School, the Lake County Health Department is now calling the cluster of confirmed and probable cases in the area an outbreak.  In addition to the three confirmed cases at Barrington High School, there is an additional unrelated, confirmed case in Barrington. There are also seven probable cases and 20 suspect cases at two high schools, two middle schools and in the surrounding area.

Mumps is a serious contagious disease passed through saliva and respiratory secretions. This disease 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.

Up to half of people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and therefore do not know they were infected with mumps. The most common symptoms include: fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis). Complications from mumps, although rare, can include inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, breasts and/or brain. People with mumps are considered contagious typically two days before until five days after parotid swelling. They should stay home and contact their health care provider.

“With spring break approaching, and other warm-weather social events coming up, students should be particularly cautious, especially if they are planning to travel,” said Mark Pfister, the Health Department’s executive director.

Children should receive the first dose of mumps-containing vaccine, MMR, at 12-15 months and the second dose at 4-6 years. All adults born during or after 1957 should have documentation of one dose of MMR. Adults at higher risk, such as university students, health care personnel, international travelers, and persons with potential mumps outbreak exposure should have documentation of two doses of mumps vaccine or other proof of immunity to mumps. If you need to be vaccinated or need your vaccination records evaluated, contact your healthcare provider.While two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine typically provide adequate immunity to the infection, the vaccination does not guarantee 100 percent protection.