An outbreak of a childhood disease among Iowa adults has the state Department of Public Health looking for answers. Spokesman Kevin Teale says the numbers of mumps cases aren’t large, but the age is wrong.He says they’re occurring in people from mid-teens to young adults…and while there’s usually a case or two in the average year, we’d seen five already in the first month of this year.

Most of those cases were in eastern Iowa, and two of the cases were in students at the University of Iowa. He says the agency wants to track down why the cases are up — and since a lot of illnesses can cause swollen jaws and glands, some people might think it’s something else besides a case of the mumps. If you do have those symptoms, the department’s urging you to go to a doctor, and be tested for mumps.

Mumps is one of the illnesses that are a part of the routine schedule of vaccinations for young children, so most of us probably got two shots of vaccine for the disease. One thing the agency’s looking into is whether some people’s shots wore off, or if some got a dose of vaccine that wasn’t as strong as it should have been. That’s why the health department’s asking anyone with an illness that includes swollen glands to be checked by a doctor for mumps, so any other cases out there can be reported also.