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 told The Pantagraph 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.
There are no known cases of mumps in McLean County, said Amanda McCambridge of the McLean County Health Department.
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 said.
The best way to prevent mumps is to make sure children are current with their vaccinations, the school said in the letter to parents. Children receive at least one dose of a mumps vaccine on or after their first birthday and a second dose at 4 to 6 years old.
Parents who aren't sure whether their child has received the vaccine should contact their child's primary care provider.
Mumps is rare although their have been outbreaks in recent years. Five McLean County residents had confirmed cases of mumps in June 2017.
Nettles said, in his 28 years in education, there has never been a mumps case in a district where he has served.
Because 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.