Mumps cases at Barrington High now considered an outbreak
The Lake County Health Department now has three confirmed cases of mumps at Barrington High School, upgrading the situation at the school to outbreak status, school officials said Tuesday afternoon.
Last Thursday, the health department announced there were two confirmed cases of the mumps at the school of around 3,040 students.
Free measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccines will be administered to eligible Barrington High School students and staff members later this week, according to a letter to parents sent out Tuesday afternoon by Barrington Area Unit School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris.
But the vaccine clinic will be for underserved students and school employees, said Mark Pfister, the health department's executive director.
"People who need a vaccine should go to their primary care physician," Pfister said Tuesday evening.
Very few students are eligible to receive the free vaccine because a high percentage of Barrington High students are vaccinated, Harris said Tuesday night at the Barrington 220 school board meeting.
He said last week there were 43 students who either didn't have complete vaccination paperwork or had a religious or medical exemption against the vaccine. Harris said Tuesday that number is down to eight or nine students. The district has been helping those students continue their education from home in a variety of ways, including having access to coursework through their school-issued laptops.
Harris said he's been checking attendance rates and they are normal. At Barrington High, 95 percent of students attended class on Tuesday.
And the students who did attend school aren't worried about the outbreak, according to Barrington High junior Kara Ingram, who gives updates to the school board each meeting.
"No one's really concerned about their health. They're just making jokes about it," Ingram said. "It's not serious, but it is talked about."
According to the health department, up to half the people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms and therefore do not know they were infected. The most common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis). Complications from mumps, although rare, can include inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, breasts and brain.
On Monday, the Lake County Health Department said a Barrington adult with no believed connection to Barrington schools had a confirmed case of the mumps. Two more suspected cases -- an adult from Lake Zurich and a Libertyville High School student -- were discovered by the health department Monday.
Also on Monday the health department said there were 19 suspected cases of the mumps at Barrington High.
People who have been properly vaccinated might still contract the disease because no vaccine is 100 percent successful, but Pfister said that was no reason to forgo vaccination.
"Not getting a vaccination is 100 percent ineffective," Pfister said.