mumps cases in Illinois rise, state public health director
encourages vaccination and education
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symptoms and how to protect yourself and your family
[APRIL 17, 2006]
-- Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced
Friday that Illinois has received reports of 72 cases of mumps: 35
confirmed and 37 probable cases so far this year.
Due to the unusually high number of cases in the state and an
outbreak in Iowa totaling around 600 cases, Whitaker is reminding
people to continue good health practices and check vaccination
records to make sure that both adults and children have been
"Mumps is about as contagious as the flu, so it's
important to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing;
wash your hands often; don't drink from the same glass or share the
same eating utensils as another person," Whitaker said. "If you know
someone who has mumps or suspect someone may have the disease,
restrict contact with them as much as possible. These are some
simple, common-sense things you can do to avoid getting the mumps."
Mumps is an infection of the salivary glands and is caused by a
virus. Symptoms include swelling of the glands close to the jaw,
fever, headache and muscle aches. Children who get mumps may develop
a mild meningitis, which is an inflammation of the covering of the
brain and spinal cord, and sometimes encephalitis, an inflammation
of the brain. Mumps also can result in permanent hearing loss.
Serious complications also can include swelling of the testicles or
Treatment options include aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs and time.
Vaccination is still the best option for avoiding mumps. Schools
require entering students to be vaccinated at least once for mumps.
It is recommended that children be vaccinated on or after their
first birthday. The mumps vaccine is contained in what is called the
MMR vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella. Children entering
school are required to have two doses of the measles vaccination,
and because measles and mumps are both included in the MMR, children
receive a second vaccination for mumps as well.
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Adults are likely to be immune to mumps if blood
tests show they are immune to mumps; if they are males born before
1957; or if they are females born before 1957 who are sure they are
not having more children, have already had rubella vaccine or have
had a positive rubella test. People born before 1957 are likely to
have had mumps during childhood, but it is possible they did not.
Adults should get the MMR vaccine if they are
students beyond high school, work in a hospital or other medical
facility, travel internationally, are passengers on a cruise ship,
or if they are females of childbearing age and have not been
"Persons with mumps are usually considered
infectious from about three days before the symptoms begin until
about nine days after the onset of the swelling of the salivary
glands," Whitaker said. "Because physicians have not been seeing a
lot of cases for many years now, this is a good time for physicians
to refresh their memory about the symptoms, diagnosis and importance
of reporting mumps to the local health department."
The average incubation period for mumps is about 18
At this time, the cause of the outbreak in Iowa, and
the increased number of cases in Illinois, is not known. There are,
however, three Illinois cases with connections to Iowa.
More information on
Department of Public Health news release]