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Health Warning After Confirmed Case of Mumps in Terre Haute

A health warning for the Wabash Valley -- the Vigo County Health Department has confirmed a case of mumps in Terre Haute, and there are six suspected cases of the highly-contagious disease. The "patient zero" in this case is a Rose-Hulman student, and officials say he or she recently had contact with ISU students at a party - potentially exposing students on both campuses to the disease.
A health warning for the Wabash Valley --  the Vigo County Health Department has confirmed a case of mumps in Terre Haute, and there are six suspected cases of the highly-contagious disease.

The "patient zero" in this case is a Rose-Hulman student, and officials say he or she recently had contact with ISU students at a party - potentially exposing students on both campuses to the disease.

Mumps have arrived in the Wabash Valley.

Health officials say this particular strand started at the University of Dayton, before coming to the Rose-Hulman campus. And it's putting some nearby students on edge.

"I thought it's really strange. Mumps hasn't been around for a while, so just the idea that it's coming from one campus to another is a little nerve-wracking," said ISU student  Erin McDonald.

By 2005, the two-dose vaccine reduced mumps by 99-percent - but most of the patients involved in this strain were immunized.

"It covers all the ones that are known, but there may be ones that are unknown or are more prevalent in other countries. So there's always that chance that's what it could be," said Joni Wise,
   
Mumps is a viral infection, that often comes on like the flu.

It's also highly contagious -- especially in close-contact settings like college campuses.

Both ISU and Rose-Hulman tell us they've alerted all students, faculty and staff - and they're prepared in case someone else does get sick.

Still, the Health Department is urging everyone to take precautions.

"Like we tell you every flu season, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands," said Wise. "And stay home if you're sick."

It's recommended that anyone who's showing signs should be isolated for at least five days -- and we should all be aware of who we're coming in contact with.

"Washing hands more, watch who I shake hands with," said McDonald. "With the weather being the way it is, I know that people are getting sick because of that so it increases the chances that stuff can get spread so yeah I'm kinda nervous about it."

A blood sample from that confirmed case is being sent to the CDC for profiling.

Before vaccinations were routine, mumps were fairly common in the U.S., but these days the disease is rare. Typically there are fewer than 20 cases a year in the entire country.

Initial symptoms for the mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite. All that is followed by swelling of the salivary glands.

For more information on the mumps, click here.
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