Unprecedented Mumps Outbreak Continues to Grow in Champaign-Urbana

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CHAMPAIGN-URBANA--Champaign-Urbana is experiencing the largest outbreak of the mumps ever to hit the area with around 100 cases confirmed as of Wednesday morning. 

Researchers say the mass mumps outbreak began this spring on the University of Illinois campus.

They attribute the spread of the infection to students living in close quarters and interacting in large social settings.

The best protection against the mumps is the MMR vaccine, but the standard two doses only offer 85 percent protection.

So the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health recommend everyone in the community get a third booster shot, which increases that immunity level to 95 percent. 

"We just have to reach that breaking point. And we don't know what that is so far," said Awais Vaid, Director of Planning and Research at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. "But experts say that if you can boost the immunity in this population, which is a close knit community, we will see those numbers go down pretty soon."

Mass vaccination clinics are being held at the Illini Union from 10 AM to 4 PM through Friday. Vaccines are free to U of I students, faculty, and staff.

So far, 4500 have been vaccinated at the clinics, and organizers expect to vaccinate 3000-4000 more in the coming days.

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