CLINTON — A Clinton High School student has a possible case of the mumps, leading school officials to send a letter to parents and guardians on Wednesday informing them about the rare and contagious disease.
Clinton School Superintendent Curt Nettles said the letter went out at the recommendation of the DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department.
"We follow the health department protocol, and they recommend notifying parents of a possible case ... so everyone has the factual information," Nettles said.
Nettles declined to give the condition of the student.
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus, but it is not common among children who are up to date with their vaccinations.
"I don't know our vaccination rate, but it's extremely high," Nettles said. "We're very nearly 100 percent all the time."
"We're going to follow the advice of our health department to keep our parents informed and our students as safe as possible," he added.
Mumps can be prevented with MMR vaccine. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine:
- the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age
- the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Parents who aren't sure whether their child has received the vaccine should contact their child's primary care provider.
The CDC said the mumps vaccination program started in 1967 has wiped out nearly 99 percent of cases. From Jan. 1 to April 26, 41 states — including Illinois — and the District of Columbia reported mumps infections in 736 people to the CDC.
Nettles said, in his 28 years in education, there has never been a mumps case in a district where he has served.
Mumps is spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets. People can reduce their risk by covering their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze, washing their hands frequently with water and soap, not sharing eating and drinking utensils and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, swollen salivary glands and malaise. Serious cases also can include swollen testicles in males and swollen ovaries in females and inflammation of the joints for several days.
Anyone who experiences symptoms should stay home for at least five days and call their health care provider.