Officials Warn Of Mumps, Measles Outbreak

Apr 28, 2014

Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health
Credit WUIS

  Illinois officials are urging parents to vaccinate their school-aged children under new regulations from the Department of Public Health.

This comes as public health officers are monitoring two recent outbreaks of mumps in central Illinois. There's been an eruption of cases in Sangamon and Morgan counties.

There are usually only 35 reported cases of mumps a year in Illinois. But this year, we're already at twice that number.

That has local health officials scrambling to contain the highly contagious disease.

Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says vaccinations are key to both understanding the problem and fixing it.

Though vaccination is required by law in order to attend school in Illinois, Hasbrouck says in any given year, about 60,000 children are not immunized.

"What we don't have is the vigilance on behalf of parents, and we don't have the vigilance, in my opinion, on behalf of the schools, who need to really reinforce and enforce the laws and say, 'Well, no, Johnny can't come to school unless he brings proof of his vaccination,'" he said.

Hasbrouck says an outbreak of mumps can be expensive, both in extra demands on health professionals, and missed work and school for those infected.