8 cases of mumps reported at Crystal Lake church, McHenry County Jail

WOODSTOCK, Ill. -- Health officials are investigating a mumps outbreak in McHenry County.

Officials are trying to determine whether there is a connection between the eight cases that have been diagnosed so far: six of them at The Arising Church in Crystal Lake, and two at the McHenry County Jail in Woodstock. Health officials said all of them are men.

"The only connection we're aware of is that the church does do ministry work at the facility, so it's under current investigation whether they're actually linked or not," said Susan Karras, McHenry County Health Dept. "We don't know if they brought it in or they got it in the jail and brought it out."

The onset of the first case was January 6 and the last was February 16. The mumps is a highly contagious disease that is easily transmitted in crowded environments.

Though mostly eradicated since the MMR vaccine became available in 1967, there has been an uptick in cases in recent years. In December, Romeoville's Lewis University reported the presence of up to 15 cases on campus.

"There's no treatment for it. You pretty much let it run its course. Most people do recover from a case of mumps. It's a vaccine preventable disease. So we do encourage people to be vaccinated against the mumps," Karras said.

There may still be additional unconfirmed cases out there. The Health department said Wednesday they are looking at blood tests from both the jail and in the community at large to determine if this mumps outbreak is continuing to spread.
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