As you may already have heard or read, several cases of mumps have been reported among University of Florida students. The UF Student Health Care Center is partnering with the Alachua County Health Department to monitor the situation and is sharing information via the SF Student Health Care Center regarding the virus and best practices for protecting yourself against it.
First, some basic information about mumps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then most people will have swelling of their salivary glands. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.
“Outbreaks have most commonly occurred among groups of people who have prolonged, close contact, such as sharing water bottles or cups, kissing, practicing sports together, or living in close quarters, with a person who has mumps. Some vaccinated people may still get mumps if they are exposed to the virus. However, disease symptoms are milder in vaccinated people.”
Also from the CDC website: “When you have mumps, you should avoid contact with other people until five days after your salivary glands begin to swell because you are contagious during this time. You should not go to work, school or any social events. You should stay home when you are sick with mumps and limit contact with the people you live with; for example, sleep in a separate room by yourself if you can.”
Although the usual incubation period is 16 to 18 days, it could take up to 25 days after being exposed for the symptoms to begin. A person may be contagious up to two days before they have symptoms of being sick.
The number of cases reported at UF currently stands at 18, which is more than the one or two we normally see on campus each year. However, 30 cases have been reported statewide so far this year – exactly the same number as last year – and concentrations like the one occurring at UF are not uncommon. In addition, all 18 cases at UF are in patients who have received the Measles Mumps Rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
Most students have already received the MMR vaccine during childhood. Even though Santa Fe College does not require vaccines for admission, we encourage all SF students to verify their vaccinations so you will know your status should you be exposed to one of the infections and have to prove your immunity. If you did not receive the vaccine during childhood or are unsure of your vaccination status you may stop by the Student Health Care Center in S120 to speak to our Program Assistant or Registered Nurse, Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30.
Finally, everyone should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be careful to avoid close personal contact with others who may be sick. If you think you may have symptoms of mumps, please call or stop by the Student Health Care Center during operating hours for an evaluation.
More information is available at: