Suspected mumps case at ETHS part of statewide trend

Sophia Bollag, City Editor

The possible case of mumps at Evanston Township High School is part of a statewide increase in the virus, Evanston Health Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith said.

ETHS parents were alerted of the suspected case of the contagious disease Monday in a letter from Thomas-Smith and District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon posted on the high school’s website.

The case at ETHS is classified as “suspected” because the affected person had symptoms mimicking mumps, but the disease was not confirmed though a lab test, Thomas-Smith told The Daily.

“In Illinois. we’ve seen a significant (increase) across the state, but not necessarily in Evanston,” Thomas-Smith said.

From January through April, 82 instances of the virus have been reported in Illinois, triple the total number of cases reported in the state in all of 2013.

Five cases of the disease were reported at Northwestern over the summer.

(July 2013: 3 Northwestern students involved new mumps cases, health officials say

One of the many possible reasons for the increase could be that fewer people are getting vaccinated for the disease.

“We have reported more children and families opting out of vaccinations, and we’re seeing different strains of viral infections returning to the surface,” Thomas-Smith said.

Symptoms of mumps include a fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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