- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Health officials are puzzled by an outbreak of the mumps among Dubuque County students that has now climbed to 30 cases.

According to Dubuque County Health Department executive director Patrice Lambert, the source of the outbreak has not yet been determined. Lambert said this is the worst outbreak in 10 years in the county, with the number of cases more than one-third of all cases statewide.

Dubuque Community School District’s health services coordinator Rhonda Ramler said officials haven’t seen a pattern to the students who have been affected, the Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/2gneYRj ) reported.

“They’ve all been vaccinated,” Ramler said of the ill students. “It’s not the case that it’s just unvaccinated kids. And they’re all over the board for age. We’re not seeing anything that’s like a pattern.”

Precautions are being taken to try and halt the spread of the disease, which can cause fever, headaches and swollen salivary glands. Mumps can be spread through mucus or saliva, or even through the air. Health officials advise avoiding public places for at least five days after the onset of disease symptoms.

Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said mumps outbreaks tend to happen in groups that live in close proximity. Since most of the diagnosed students have been vaccinated, Quinlisk said, their symptoms seem to be milder.

Lambert advocated following the “three Cs” to prevent disease spread - cleaning hands frequently, covering coughs and containing the illness by avoiding public places. She said the recommendation is similar to preventing influenza spread.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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