At least three confirmed cases of mumps have been reported in the past few days at Illinois State University, triggering outbreak status for the communicable disease at ISU.
The McLean County Health Department's Communicable Disease Supervisor Melissa Graven said an outbreak occurs when three or more cases can be linked to time, place or environment.
"If you feel like you have swelling in the jaw area, the first thing you should do is not go to work or school. If the swelling continues for a day or two, seek medical evaluation and get the test done for mumps," Graven said.
A flu test is also recommended, said Graven.
"Since this is a virus, only supportive care works. Get rest, lots of fluids and take medication to help with any discomfort, pain or fever you may have. Then, you'll be directed to stay home for five days after the swelling had started," she added.
When there is an outbreak in a setting or in a community, it is in place for 50 days, because the incubation period is 25 days, Graven said. Two incubation cycles are included to ensure no new cases have been diagnosed during the outbreak.
Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling in the salivary glands near the jaw. It is a contagious disease spread through mucus droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person and is most frequently spread through coughing, sneezing, talking, kissing, sharing food and food utensils, and touching surfaces with droplets on them and then touching your own mouth or nose.
Graven said spring and fall are common times for communicable disease outbreak on college campuses because students are returning to campus, either in the fall from being home during summer, or in the spring because students leave for spring break then return.
The first outbreak of mumps in nearly a decade occurred in McLean County and elsewhere in central Illinois in the fall of 2015, with more cases carrying over to spring of 2016. The spring outbreak last year was resolved in about August.
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