McHenry County health officials are warning residents of a mumps outbreak that has resulted in at least eight cases being reported at multiple locations in the county.
“We typically don’t see this many cases,” Dr. Irfan Hafiz said of the outbreak. “We average maybe two, but having eight cases is above our typical trend.”
According to officials, two of the cases were reported at the McHenry County correctional facility, while the other six cases were reported at Arising Church, located in suburban Crystal Lake.
Authorities say that there is a connection between the two institutions, as church volunteers do missionary work every week at the jail.
Mumps is a very contagious airborne virus that causes symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, and loss of memory. Later on, patients diagnosed with the illness can experience swelling of their salivary glands.
Dr. Hafiz, who specializes in infectious diseases, says that mumps can be prevented with vaccines, but that he is concerned about the rapid spread of the disease.
“With declines in vaccination rates, we are starting to see clusters of these vaccine-preventable diseases re-emerge,” he said.
County health officials say the investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, and church officials say that their members have been cleared and are feeling better.