By: Grace Hagan – Print Co-Editor
UPDATED April 27, 3 p.m.
Two more cases of mumps have been confirmed on UD’s campus. This brings the grand total to 9 confirmed cases of mumps. In an email sent Wednesday afternoon, William Fischer, vice president of student development, encouraged students and staff to visit UD’s mumps informational website. As a reminder, see below for a description of mumps symptoms and information on receiving MMR vaccines.
UPDATED April 25
As of April 25, the university has confirmed six cases of mumps on campus. The Student Health Center is urging unvaccinated students to get two doses of the MMR vaccine. UD’s Student Health Center will provide free vaccinations from Monday to Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, until May 6. Appointments for the MMR vaccine must be prescheduled. Public Health-Dayton and Montgomery will also provide vaccines to students, faculty and staff this Friday, April 29 at the RecPlex from 1 to 3 p.m. The vaccine is free for most insurances.
If students cannot, for medical reasons, receive the vaccine, they are to closely monitor their symptoms. Symptoms include swelling of the salivary glands or lymph nodes in the neck, or fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite. These symptoms usually only last a week, but the incubation period for mumps is 12 to 25 days. The virus can be contagious prior to symptoms showing. However, the chance of getting mumps is rare for those who have received the MMR vaccine.
If you think you may have mumps, please contact the Student Health Center (9-3131).
Last night the university sent out a health advisory email, alerting students and staff of a mumps outbreak. Late Tuesday morning, Dr. Mary Buchwalder, medical director of UD, spoke about the current situation. In the 25 years that Buchwalder has been a physician at UD, this is the first time that the university has had a confirmed case of mumps.
There are two confirmed cases of mumps and two suspected cases. For the students who presented symptoms of the mumps, treatment is supportive. “We treat their fever, make sure they get plenty of fluids, ask them to stay to their rooms, and avoid being out in public for the duration of the illness, which is usually about five days,” Buchwalder said.
The students with now-confirmed cases of the mumps came into the Student Health Center two weeks ago. By the time the two student cases were confirmed, after five days waiting to the lab results, the students’ symptoms had resolved. The students are not from the same area and to Buchwalder knowledge, the students did not come into direct contact with one another.
Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine are required to attend UD. The vaccine, Buchwalder said, is 88 percent protective. There is a small chance that students can get mumps. “[Mumps] tends to be less severe and a lot smaller chance of complications if they have been vaccinated,” Buchwalder said. Immunization is required for all students, exceptions a small number with opposing medical, religious or philosophical beliefs. For privacy reasons, Buchwalder could not identify whether or not the students received the MMR vaccination. She did note that all four students live on campus.
Mumps is a viral illnesses that has become rarer due to vaccination. It usually makes people feel sick for about a week. The health advisor issued to students listed possible symptoms as: swelling of the salivary glands or lymph nodes in the neck, fever, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite. Students presenting these symptoms should stop by the Student Health Center for an appointment for evaluation.
“Mumps is spread through airborne respiratory secretion, so coughing or sneezing,” Buchwalder explained. This makes mumps easy to spread, especially in a college environment where students are constantly in close contact with one another at class, dining halls and residence halls.
In the pre-vaccination era, though very rarely, mumps could cause serious complications. “It can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain which is very rare,” Buchwalder said. She also noted that mumps can cause inflammation of the testicles in men and of the ovaries in women, both of which are connected to infertility. Again, these complications are extremely rare in those who contract mumps. For many, the mumps typically run their course in a week.
The results of the two suspected cases are still awaited. A local laboratory sends the mumps test out to a secondary speciality laboratory. “It’s supposed to be a one to five day turn around, it took longer than that the last time,” Buchwalder said.
Buchwalder told Flyer News that students should emphasis good health caution going into finals week. Simple things like good handwashing and getting plenty of sleep go a long way. Buchwalder said that the Student Health Center is still seeing influenza on campus. “The flu shouldn’t be around in April, but it is,” Buchwalder said. With finals just around the corner, students should be extra mindful of covering their cough and sneezes (not with their hands). If students are sick, they should stay away from other students to prevent the spread of illnesses.
The big take away, Flyers? Make sure to use common sense when we’re all using our book smarts going into finals.