Mumps Outbreak on the Rise in Champaign County

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CHAMPAIGN--The mumps outbreak in Champaign County continues to grow to unprecedented levels.

"These are record numbers for us," said Rachella Thompson-Brown, a communicable disease investigator at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. "In the past we've had outbreaks of mumps, but we've only had about 18 cases. So this is the largest that we've seen."

So far, there have been 43 confirmed cases of the mumps since April.

Officials at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District say it started on the University of Illinois campus. Now, it's spreading to others in the surrounding community. Many of those contracting the virus are vaccinated against it. 

"We are still looking into that to figure out why this is happening. But currently what we're doing is trying to blanket the community, educate the public about signs and symptoms, what to look for," said Thompson-Brown. 

Symptoms include fever, swollen glands, and headaches.

There is no set treatment for the mumps, but anyone experiencing the symptoms should to stay away from others for at least five days to stop the spread. 

So far, no one has been hospitalized during this surge.

"With the cases that we've seen, the majority of them have been mild cases," said Thompson-Brown. "And I think that's due to the majority of the cases that we've investigated received two doses of the vaccine."

One dose of the MMR vaccine provides about 75 percent protection, while two doses boosts that number to 88 percent, which is why medical professionals say the best way to avoid the mumps altogether is to get vaccinated.

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