There has been a recent outbreak of mumps at our neighboring campus, the University of Idaho. As of November 19, 2014, 10 cases of mumps have been confirmed with over 20 additional reports under investigation. No recent cases of mumps have been reported to date in Pullman or Whitman County.
Mumps is a contagious viral illness that spreads from person to person via droplets of saliva or mucous from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person; spread is commonly associated with coughing, sneezing or talking. The virus can also be spread when an infected person touches surfaces without washing their hands and another person touches that same surface, then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose. An infected person does not need to be demonstrating symptoms to spread the virus.
Symptoms can occur up 25 days after exposure and can include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Swollen, tender, or painful salivary glands under the ear on one or both sides of the head are also common with mumps.
Complications of mumps infection can include testicular inflammation, and infrequently, meningitis, encephalitis (infection of the brain), infection of the ovaries, and deafness. Individuals with symptoms of mumps should contact their health care provider. It is recommended that persons with symptoms call ahead of visiting their health care provider so that contact with others can be minimized to reduce spread of the virus. Anyone infected with mumps should stay home for five days after symptoms begin, avoid close contact with others, wash their hands frequently with soap and water, cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze, avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils, and frequently clean surfaces that they come into contact with.
The most effective way to prevent mumps is to ensure that one has been properly vaccinated with the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine. Individuals without documentation of immunity to mumps, either through vaccination or documented previous infection with mumps, should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine 28 days apart. Individuals who have previously had only one dose of the vaccine should receive a second dose.
We are strongly encouraging students to use the upcoming Thanksgiving break to check their vaccination records to ensure that they are current with MMR vaccination before they come back to school. Students can contact Health and Wellness Services (509-335-3575), their health care provider, or their local public health department about getting an MMR vaccine.
More information about mumps and MMR vaccine can be found at the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/mumps/.