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, from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
The students were confined to their homes last week after symptoms appeared, and health officials are awaiting results from culture samples to determine whether the cases are actually mumps.
Officials said no one who has had close contact with any of the students affected have reported any similar symptoms.
The Orange County Health Department said Thursday there is no link to mumps cases reported in the Midwest, where as of April 12, there were 605 suspected, probable and confirmed cases reported in Iowa.
Orange County officials also stressed that the three cases they are investigating are suspected, not confirmed.
A North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said Thursday that on average, there are about four to five cases of the disease each year in North Carolina, but that the agency has not received any reports, so far, this year.
Orange County officials said the county averages about one to two cases of mumps per year.
A letter was sent home to students at the affected schools telling parents to make sure their children's immunizations were up to date.
Mumps is a virus that develops in the upper respiratory tract and spreads through direct contact with respiratory secretions. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of salivary glands.
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