Monday, February 18th, 2019

Mumps at USM

Posted on March 07, 2016 in News
By Krysteana Scribner

On March 2,  a student at the University of Southern Maine who visited the University Health Center was diagnosed with mumps. This outbreak is one among many happening across college campuses right now and the first outbreak at USM since 2013.

The university has identified more than 150 other students who were likely in proximity to this student while he was contagious, either in class with him or living with him. Those people were notified. Four of those students were not vaccinated, but so far no students have shown signs of having the illness.

According to the Bangor Daily News, health officials are investigating whether or not the case in Maine may be related to a case in New Hampshire. The virus is spread by person-to-person but people can guard themselves against the disease through vaccinations, hand washing and not sharing utensils or water bottles.

“Staff members are currently contacting individuals who may be more directly affected, but we think it is important for the entire university community to be informed of the symptoms of mumps and what to do if you have any questions or concerns,” said Director of Health Services Lisa Belanger in an email to USM students, faculty and staff on Wednesday evening.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mumps is no longer very common in the U.S. Over the course of the past few days, however, other colleges such as Harvard, Butler University, New Hampshire College, University of Louisville and Indiana University have come forward with emerging cases of Mumps being spread across campus.

Each school (with the exception of USM) have had at least two or more cases arise. As of March 2, Harvard has confirmed four additional cases of mumps on campus, bringing their student outbreak to six.

Outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, especially those that are populous and people come into contact with others daily. Many cases of mumps have been seen in high density across schools, colleges and camps. However, a high vaccination rate among students can ensure that the outbreak affects a small number of people.

After coming into contact with the virus, it can take 12-25 days before the symptoms appear. A person with the virus is contagious for three days before and five days after symptoms begin, according to the CDC.

Mumps affects the parotid glands, which are the salivary glands below and in front of the ears. It is spread through infected saliva, and a person can experience few to no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can happen suddenly and include swollen, painful salivary glands, headache, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite.

“We recommend that you minimize your contact with others for five days if you are experiencing mumps-like symptoms,” Belanger said. “This may require that you do not attend class, work, sports activities or other gatherings.”

If you have questions or concerns about the mumps, please feel free to contact the Health & Counseling Services at (207) 780-5411.  Alternatively, you may contact the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at 1-800-821-5821.  



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