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010816-blm-lif-2mumps

Mumps vaccine is stored at the McLean County Health Department in 2016.

BLOOMINGTON — Five McLean County residents have confirmed cases of mumps, leading the county health department on Tuesday to encourage people experiencing symptoms to isolate from others until they can be tested for the virus.

None of the five residents — ages 22 to 52 — needed to be hospitalized and all are recovering, said Lisa Slater of the McLean County Health Department. The agency is working with the infected individuals and notifying their close contacts about possible exposure to the virus.

"We need to protect our most vulnerable populations — those who cannot get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine because of age or illness — from exposure to mumps virus," Melissa Graven, health department communicable disease supervisor, said in a statement.

Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, swollen salivary glands, malaise and swollen testicles in males and swollen ovaries in females for several days.

People experiencing symptoms should stay home and call their health care provider. Everyone else should make sure they are up to date with their MMR vaccinations and, if they aren't, to make vaccination a priority, the health department said.

Mumps is a concern because it passes easily from person to person — through droplets of saliva or mucus — and because, in rare cases, it can have serious side effects, especially among people who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, or children less than 1 year old who are too young to receive the MMR vaccine. Rare complications include deafness, meningitis, spontaneous abortion and sterility in men.

The previous county mumps outbreak was in 2015-2016. There were 22 confirmed cases and 17 probable cases in 2016 and 38 confirmed cases and 33 probably cases in 2015.

People also can reduce their risk of spreading mumps by avoiding sharing drinks, utensils and cigarettes; washing hands thoroughly and frequently; cleaning frequently touched surfaces; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and coughing and sneezing into their sleeve.

People interested in scheduling an MMR vaccination can call their health care provider or the health department at 309-888-5435.

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Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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