The McLean County Health Department has confirmed three cases of mumps in people who have been on the Illinois State University campus. 

Officials at the university will be notifying the campus community of the outbreak and follow up with those who are susceptible to the virus. The health department says the outbreak is isolated.

Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling in the salivary glands near the jaw. It’s contagious and is spread through mucus droplets from the nose or throat of someone who’s infected. It’s most commonly spread through coughing, sneezing, talking, kissing, sharing food and food utensils, and touching surfaces with droplets on them and then touching your own mouth or nose.

Last year, more than 20 people in the county were diagnosed with the mumps. The outbreak concluded in August 2016, when 50 days passed with no new cases. 

“Once a virus like mumps is introduced into the community it’s not too surprising to see cases reappear periodically, especially in a closed community like a college campus where you have a population that participates in social activities and often live in more delsely populated living quarters,” says Melissa Grave, Communicable Disease Supervisor at the McLean County Health Department. “Our focus is now stopping the spread of the virus by encouraging students to be sure they’ve received two doses of MMR, stay home if they feel ill, and seek care from their healthcare provider if signs and symptoms persist.” 

Here are some ways to prevent getting the mumps:

  • Make sure you’re up-to-date on 2 doses of the MMR vaccine
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid sharing drinks, eating utensils, and cigarettes
  • Wash your hands well and frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Clean frequently-touched surfaces regularly with soap and water or with cleaning wipes