UPDATED: Illinois sees spike in mumps cases - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATED: Illinois sees spike in mumps cases

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A virus we haven't seen much of for decades is infecting people around the Midwest. Even if you're vaccinated, you might not be protected.

The mumps vaccine was introduced in the 1960's. Most children get it before entering kindergarten. It has pushed cases to nearly zero. But now those numbers are on the rise.

"There's about ten percent of people who get vaccinated who are vulnerable the virus so if you have a large group of people, even if they're all vaccinated, there's going to be about ten percent of them who may not be protected," says Dr. John Perryman, a Rockford Health System Physician.

According to the Winnebago County Health Department, there has not yet been any reported mumps cases here.

Morgan and Sangamon counties have seen 52 cases of the viral infection. The Springfield State Journal-Register reported the entire state saw just 26 cases in all of 2013. So far, the state has seen 65 cases this year.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Jim Stone said "the spike is unusual."

Mumps has also been reported in Fulton, Greene, Champaign, Cook, and Will counties, mostly affecting adults.

And it's not just in Illinois, an outbreak in Ohio has sickened more than 200 people, many of them students or staff member at Ohio State University.

North of us, at The University of Wisconsin- Madison, five students there have fallen ill. Doctors say this trend is no coincidence. The virus thrives in conditions you can sometimes find on college campuses. "It's probably related to the living conditions, crowded conditions, hygiene's probably not ideal," says Dr. Perryman.

The illness is transmitted just like a cold or the flu, and symptoms even feel like it, at first. "After a couple of days you start to get swelling of the salivary glands. Not everybody gets this. What is most common is the swelling of there parotid glands but sometimes you can get swelling under the jaw or other locations," says Perryman.

The good news, mumps is rarely fatal. But it will leave you feeling miserable for a couple of weeks. "It's painful, sometimes it can hurt bad enough where it's hard to eat or swallow."

Some common sense tips for preventing the spread of mumps:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Don't share drinks or food.
  • Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.
  • And a if you or a loved one catches the virus, stay home. You can be contagious for two weeks or more.

 

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