A couple of potential cases of mumps in the Chicago area have doctors here on the lookout for more cases.
The two possible, but unconfirmed cases involve a 12 year old student at Fremont Middle School in Mundelein, who just returned to school on Monday, the other involves an unidentified student at Evanston Township High School.
These two cases come as officials in central Ohio are dealing with a major outbreak of mumps, where more than 320 cases have been confirmed, many at Ohio State University.
“Any infectious disease, I like to say, is just an airplane ride away,” said Rush University Medical Center pediatrician Dr. Renee Slade. “So, it only takes one case introduced into the community for a few more people to get introduced and a few more people before it can become an outbreak.
Mumps is a viral infection, with symptoms similar to the flu. They include fever, fatigue, headaches and after five days you can experience painful swelling around the neck. The two students in the Chicago area both had been vaccinated, and at Fremont Middle School the district reviewed all student health records and found all students there had been vaccinated. But doctors say that’s not a guarantee someone won’t get mumps.
“Vaccination is pretty good but it's not excellent, about 90% of the people who are vaccinated retain their immunity, but that means that about 10% of people who are adequately vaccinated, they had the first dose around age one, second dose around age 4 to 5, their immunity wanes as they get older which is why the community is still at risk of infection,” said Dr. Slade.
Mumps is very contagious and is easily spread among people living in close quarters, such as college dorms. It can be spread through sneezing, coughing, shaking someone’s hand or sharing a drink.
Because mumps is a virus you can only treat the symptoms. Doctors recommend five days of isolation to prevent the spreading.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control.