Mumps cases diagnosed on campus

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

Eastern has had two confirmed cases of the mumps virus with others being evaluated as of Monday.

As of Sunday, there have been 177 reported cases of mumps with 128 of them associated with the outbreak at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Sheila Baker, the medical director for Health Service at Eastern, said in an email that the two cases were diagnosed between Sept. 8 and Sept 11.

Baker said the virus is self-limited, which means it goes away on its own.

“We develop symptoms; sometimes we get worse for a while, but then it goes away all by itself,” Baker said.

Baker said the best way to avoid getting the virus is to get the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

“We believe that 90 percent of people who get the recommended vaccinations are immune to the mumps virus.

Baker said it is a state requirement for any student attending a state university to show proof of the two vaccinations.

“If you don’t show us proof of two MMR vaccinations by the end of your first semester here, we will place a hold on your account,” Baker said.

Baker said this is not the first time there has been reported cases of mumps on Eastern’s campus.

“It’s the first time that we’ve seen a situation that we felt needed public attention,” Baker said.

In her email, Baker said the mumps illness usually lasts 10 days and students with the illness have to self-isolate themselves for the first five days while they are contagious.

Baker said the symptoms start off non-specific for the first two days such as a low-grade fever and fatigue.

“Usually within a couple of days we get swelling of one or both of our parotid, or salivary glands, typically in front of our ears,” Baker said.

Baker said the process of diagnosing starts with talking about medical history, a physical exam to look for evidence of mumps, and a swab of the inside of the cheek to test for the genetic make-up of the virus.

“If we diagnose someone with mumps, we will ask them to self-isolate for five days after their symptoms have started,” Baker said. “We notify registration if they need to be.”

Baker said if the registration needs to be notified, the health service would say the student is out for medical reasons and will give a date when they should not be contagious.

Baker said that any students who have any of the symptoms are encouraged to call ahead and go to the health service center to get properly diagnosed.

The Center for Disease Control released a report that showed that between the years of 2006 and 2014, about 71 percent of the Illinois mumps cases occurred in zip codes containing or neighboring a college or university.

The CDC reported the two doses of the MMR vaccination is 88 percent effective in protecting against mumps. One dose is 78 percent effective.

The CDC said the largest outbreaks occurred in 2009 and 2010.


Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]