updated 4/18/2006 8:48:58 PM ET 2006-04-19T00:48:58

The number of reported cases of mumps this year has climbed to 815 in Iowa, the state at the center of the nation’s biggest epidemic in almost two decades.

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Iowa’s caseload jumped more than 200 in the past week, though some of the increase consisted of older cases that had been stuck in a backlog of paperwork, the Iowa Department of Public Health said Tuesday.

The epidemic has hit nine states. Nebraska has reported 110 mumps cases. Cases have also been reported in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

It is the nation’s biggest mumps epidemic since 269 cases were reported in Kansas in 1988-89, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mumps is a virus that is spread by coughing and sneezing. It typically causes fever, headaches and swollen glands under the jaw. But it can lead to deafness, meningitis and damage to the testicles.

No deaths have been reported from the current epidemic.

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