Unconfirmed mumps outbreak hits Macomb

Leah Murphy, Assistant News Editor

Thursday, May 11th, an email was sent out to Western Illinois University students to notify the campus community of unconfirmed cases of mumps.

The McDonough County Health Department and Beu Health Center have received numerous reports of unconfirmed cases of mumps at the Western Illinois University-Macomb Campus. The students who have been examined and appeared symptomatic have been isolated for the required five-day isolation period.

Beu Health Center will have extended hours this weekend. The health center will be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 5-6.

In an attempt to maintain a healthy campus community, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take the following precautions to avoid the mumps virus: make sure your two-dose MMR vaccine is up-to-date.

Those students who have not received the required doses have been contacted; wash your hands well and often with soap and water; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; clean frequently touched surfaces with soap and water; do not share eating utensils and beverages with others; avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.

Students, faculty and staff should watch for mumps symptoms, even if fully vaccinated. Initial symptoms include: muscle aches; loss of appetite; generalized discomfort; headache; low-grade fever.

After a one to two-day period, symptoms may progress to: swelling in one or both salivary glands in front of the ears and pain/tenderness along the jaw.

Students who have any symptoms of the mumps should isolate themselves and contact Beu Health Center immediately. Students are asked not to come directly to the health center without first calling. If a diagnosis for mumps is made, the student is encouraged to return home. Students who are diagnosed and choose to go home should not use public transportation. If that is not an option, Western has quarantine facilities available.