Mumps Outbreak Among N.C. College Campuses

Kathleen Estrada 

Staff Writer 

On Nov. 5, 2019, UNCG issued out an email to all students addressing the confirmed case of the mumps on campus. The email stated that there was one confirmed case and that all involved/ close contacts had been contacted by the Health Department of Guilford County. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that “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 as well. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.” The CDC also reports that a mumps vaccination program was started in 1967 to try and prevent the spread of the virus. 

The CDC also says the specifics of the vaccine are that, “Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine: the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.”

Two doses before the age of 6 seems like a lot but the CDC also claims that, “College students who do not have evidence of immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.” For those not familiar with the term evidence of immunity just means that there is no documentation of having ever received the vaccine. They also report that as of Oct. 11, 2019, North Carolina has had 20-49 confirmed cases. 

Out of those confirmed cases High Point University had 21 as of Oct. 28, 2019 that was reported on  FOX8 NEWS. In their article they quote High Point University for saying, “High Point University continues to work closely with the Guilford County Health Department to ensure that all recommendations are followed to maintain the health and safety of the HPU community regarding mumps,”

Elon University is also another campus affected by this virus. As of Monday, Nov. 18, the university issued a “text [of] messages sent to the Elon campus community regarding the recent confirmation of cases of mumps.” The text goes on to say that so far there is only 10 confirmed cases of mumps on campus. However, the university issued another text last week last Monday saying, “As a reminder, the Alamance County Health Department has scheduled another drop-in MMR vaccination clinic Wednesday, Nov. 13, beginning at 2:00 p.m, in Alumni Gym.” 

This series of confirmed cases on college campuses is not something to be taken lightly. The CDC reports that people can die from mumps but only in rare and extreme cases, they stress a list of other serious complications, especially that can be found in adults. Those complications include, “inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; this may lead to a decrease in testicular size (testicular atrophy), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breast tissue (mastitis), inflammation in the pancreas (pancreatitis), inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis),  and deafness.” 

To ensure a clean and healthy holiday season, please remember to wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Also, please if you are experiencing any of the symptoms found in mumps, see a doctor.

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