Health officials are concerned about the increasing number of Iowans coming down with the mumps virus. Nearly one-fifth of the confirmed cases in the state are currently in Black Hawk County.

Since July of last year, there have been 556 lab-confirmed mumps cases statewide. Most of those cases -- 293 -- were in Johnson County, while Black Hawk had the second-highest number with 98 cases.

Interim Black Hawk County Health Director Thomas O'Rourke said nearly half of the mumps cases locally involve students at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. According to O'Rourke, a few scattered cases of mumps have been confirmed in four Black Hawk County schools since spring break week.

O'Rourke said county health officials are working with area school districts to prevent the virus from spreading. Guidance documents have been sent to the affected schools.

According to healthline.com, mumps is a contagious and preventable disease caused by a virus that passes from person to person through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact. Symptoms include fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of appetite, fever, and swelling of the salivary glands.

[Sources: Black Hawk County Health Departmentwww.healthline.com]