Press Release

April 14, 2006


As mumps cases in Illinois rise, state public health director encourages vaccination and education

 Know the symptoms and how to protect yourself and your family

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced Illinois has received reports of 72 cases of mumps, 35 confirmed and 37 probable cases so far this year.

Due to the unusually high number of cases in the state and an outbreak in Iowa totaling around 600 cases, Dr. Whitaker is reminding people to check their vaccination records to make sure both they, and their children, have been vaccinated, and also to continue good health practices.

“Mumps is about as contagious as the flu so it’s important to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, wash your hands often, don’t drink from the same glass or share the same eating utensils as another person. If you know someone who has mumps or suspect someone may have the disease, restrict contact with them as much as possible. These are some simple, common sense things you can do to avoid getting the mumps,” said Dr. Whitaker.

Mumps is an infection of the salivary glands caused by a virus. Symptoms include swelling of the glands close to the jaw, fever, headache and muscle aches. Children who get mumps may develop a mild meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) and sometimes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Mumps also can result in permanent hearing loss. Serious complications also can include swelling of the testicles or ovaries.

Treatment options include aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and time.

Vaccination is still the best option for avoiding mumps. Schools require entering students to be vaccinated at least once for mumps. It is recommended that children be vaccinated on or after their first birthday. The mumps vaccine is contained in what is called, MMR, measles, mumps and rubella. Children entering school are required to have two doses of the measles vaccination. Because measles is part of the MMR vaccine, children receive a second vaccination for mumps as well.

Adults are likely to be immune to mumps if blood tests show they are immune to mumps; if they are a man borne before 1957; of if they are a woman born before 1957 who is sure she is not having more children, has already had rubella vaccine, or has had a positive rubella test. Persons born before 1957 are likely to have had mumps during childhood, but it is possible they did not.

Adults should get the MMR vaccine if they are a student beyond high school; work in a hospital or other medical facility; travel internationally, or are a passenger on a cruise ship; or are a woman of childbearing age and have not been vaccinated before.

“Persons with mumps are usually considered infectious from about three days before the symptoms begin until about nine days after the onset of the swelling of the salivary glands,” said Dr. Whitaker. “Because physicians have not been seeing a lot of cases for many years now, this is a good time for physicians to refresh their memory about the symptoms, diagnosis and importance of reporting mumps to the local health department.”

The average incubation period for mumps is about 18 days.

At this time, the cause of the outbreak in Iowa, and the increased number of cases in Illinois, is not known. There are, however, three Illinois cases with connections to Iowa.

For more information on mumps you can log onto

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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