Four students at Western Illinois University have come down with the mumps, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Mumps is a contagious disease that can be spread person to person, so health officials have been warning everyone associated with the infected students at WIU as classes are ending and the students will be going home. WIU is located in Macomb.
Mumps symptoms include puffy cheeks and swollen jaw, as a result of swollen salivary glands. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 12 to 25 days after exposure, and the virus can be spread through coughing and sneezing, sharing utensils or touching surfaces with unwashed hands.
Mumps is preventable by making sure the MMR vaccine is up to date, preventing measles, mumps and rubella. Children are recommended to receive the first MMR dose at age 12-15 months, and the second at age 4–6.Adults are recommended to get a booster.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, most current U.S. outbreaks of mumps have occurred on college campuses. The University of Missouri in Columbia had an outbreak in 2016 of more than 228 cases, and more were confirmed in September at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Before the introduction of the mumps vaccine in the U.S. in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year, but that number has dropped by 99 percent since vaccination began. The last four years have seen a sharp increase, however; from 229 cases in 2012 to 6,366 cases in 2016.