Northern Illinois University Student Diagnosed With Mumps

Health officials have reported a Northern Illinois University student has a confirmed case of mumps.

School officials notified students of the mumps case in an alert Thursday saying the DeKalb County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public health and NIU Health Services were working to provide information on the disease to the community.

In August, 50 people were diagnosed with mumps in Champaign County and most of the cases were linked to the University of Illinois campus. In the same month, the Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed a Chicago high school student had a case of the mumps, marking the seventh case of mumps in the city since January.

Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness that's characterized by swollen jaws and puffy cheeks. Although not everyone who gets mumps shows symptoms, they include fever, headache, muscle aches and loss of appetite. 

The virus is spread through the saliva or mucus of an infected person, but can spread faster on a college campus because students are in close contact with each other, Dr. Robert Palinkas, director of the McKinley Health Center, said.

Health officials said a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended for all children in two doses, but adults should receive at least one dose of the vaccine if they "have no evidence of immunity."

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