Just before 8 a.m. this morning, an email was sent out by university relations for Western Illinois University. This email read that the campus’s Beu Health Center along with the McDonough County Health Department have received multiple reports of unconfirmed cases of mumps at WIU.
You may be wondering, “what’s mumps?” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Mumps typically starts with a few days of headaches, fevers, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. After a period of about one to two days, these symptoms are usually followed by swollen salivary glands.
In the email sent out from university relations, they list various ways that an infected person can spread the mumps virus :
- Coughing & Sneezing
- Sharing cups and eating utensils
- Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands
The health centers suggest avoiding any of the above and those who are not sick should avoid close contact with those who are.
The CDC says you can protect yourself and your family against mumps with an MMR vaccination. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. The CDC recommends that children get two doses of the vaccine; once between 12 to 15 months of age, and again at 4 to 6 years of age. Teens and adults should make sure that their vaccines are up-to-date as well. The CDC says students at a post-high school educational institution should receive two doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart from each other. Adult who do not show evidence of being immune to the disease should receive at least one vaccination.
According to the ‘Patient Education’ page about mumps from UpToDate.com , Mumps usually get better in about 2 weeks. It also says that putting heat on the swollen area and taking over-the-counter medication can help relieve some symptoms. WIU students who show symptoms are being isolated for a required 5 days, either in Thompson Hall or by being sent back home. The director of the Beu Health Center, John Smith says, “Please do not come directly to the health center without calling. If you have mumps symptoms we need to take precautions during your visit so that we do not infect other patients using the health center.” If you do show symptoms you are urged to contact the health center immediately because further problems can occur, like testicular swelling in males and ovary inflammation in women. There is also the risk of infections in and around the brain.
For more information on mumps you can contact the Beu Health Center at : (309) 298-1888 or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website
According to the CDC 923 infections have been reported nationally between January 2018- April 21st, 2018.