Mumps Vaccine Available to WVU Students

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Physicians at West Virginia University’sStudent Health Service want students and area residents to be aware but not alarmed concerning the recent outbreak of mumps in Iowa, where more than 1,000 new cases of mumps have been reported.

“At the present time there are no confirmed mumps cases on the WVU campus,” said Jan Palmer, M.D., director of WVU’s Student Health Service. 

Mumps is an infection caused by the mumps virus, and is spread by airborne transmission with mucus or droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person, usually when a person coughs or sneezes.  Anyone can become infected, but it is more common in infants, children and young adults. Of people who are not immunized, more than 85 percent will have mumps by adulthood, but symptoms may have been mild and therefore not recognized.

The most common symptoms are fever, headache and swollen salivary glands above the jaw. The disease can lead to hearing loss, aseptic meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) and, in 20-30 percent of males who have reached puberty, the disease can cause painful, swollen testicles and may lead to sterility.  Symptoms may appear 12-25 days after exposure, but usually within 18 days. An infected person may be able to spread the disease from two days prior to the onset of symptoms to nine days after. There is no specific treatment for mumps.

The Monongalia County Health Department has confirmed one mumps case in Monongalia County in a school-aged child.

“This is not unusual as there are normally two to three cases reported statewide each year.  This is an isolated case and is not part of the Midwest outbreak,” said Shelley C. Martin, public health educator for the Monongalia County Health Department.

There is a vaccine to prevent the mumps. Two doses of mumps-containing vaccine, given as combination MMR vaccine, separated by at least four weeks, are currently recommended for all children. The first dose is given on or after the first birthday; the second is given at 4-6 years of age. Most WVU students were out of grade school before this second dose became recommended, and may have only received one dose of MMR at 15 months of age.  Anyone who was born after 1956, and does not have antibody proven immunity to mumps, and has not received 2 doses of Mumps vaccine should receive a second dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella).  MMR is a live, attenuated vaccine. Pregnant women and persons with immunodeficiency or immunosuppression should not receive live attenuated vaccines.

WVU students should contact Student Health at 293-2311 to schedule a nurse appointment if they would like to receive MMR immunization.  These will be provided at a reduced cost of $50 through May 12.

Anyone with mumps should not go back to school or work until nine days after symptoms began or until they are well, whichever is longer. People who have had contact with someone who has or develops mumps should have their immunization status evaluated.  Anyone who has not received doses of a mumps-containing vaccine (preferably MMR vaccine) should be vaccinated.  Persons who may have been exposed should be educated on the signs and symptoms of mumps disease and should seek medical attention as soon as any of these symptoms begin.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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