University of Missouri mumps outbreak passes 200-cases mark -

University of Missouri mumps outbreak passes 200-cases mark

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The number of confirmed and probable mumps cases at the University of Missouri has grown to 228.

Local schools are alerting parents about the recent mumps outbreak. Parkway schools is the latest district to warn parents about the possible risk.

The University of Missouri released the latest numbers Wednesday as students take finals before heading home for winter break.

Health officials say they plan to continue monitoring cases over the break and through January. The school also is recommending that students receive a third dose of a vaccine that protects against mumps, as well as measles and rubella.

The school says most of the sickened students have recovered, with at least 190 of them no longer infectious.

Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling in the salivary glands and cheeks. The university is among several across the nation that has grappled with outbreaks this year.

"The most important thing though is if someone is sick with symptoms that they keep themselves home and quarantined so they don't spread the illness to others," said Dr. Ericka Hayes, St. Louis Children's Hospital. 

Mumps is a viral infection, meaning medication can't cure you. Doctors say if you are diagnosed, let it run it's course, about five days. 

Dr. Hayes said, "Mumps is an incredibly contagious illness and certainly vaccination helps contain and decrease the likelihood people are going to get sick."

Between the two mumps vaccinations, you're more than 99% protected. But even then, you're still at risk.

"Some people the vaccines take better than in others," said Dr. Phillip Zinser, Depaul Hospital.

Doctors say mumps outbreaks are becoming more difficult to control, because less people are vaccinating. 

"With vaccines we've reduced our mumps cases in the us by 99% but every time we have the penetration of vaccines drop it really starts to effect our ability to keep those infections at bay," said Dr. Hayes.

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