More mumps cases reported at Indiana universities

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 19, 2016) — Fourteen mumps cases have been reported at Indiana universities as officials try to contain the spread of the illness.

On Friday, Butler University confirmed nine students had come down with the illness after previously reporting three last week. Indiana University in Bloomington confirmed two additional cases of mumps, bringing its total to four cases. The university previously reported a pair of cases on Feb. 10.

Butler will hold booster clinics next week on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the HRC gym. Both are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Thursday, students, faculty and staff at IUPUI were alerted via email about a single case there. IUPUI says they have been working with the Marion County Health Department to identify and notify anyone who has come in contact with the student.

In response to the surge in cases, the Indiana State Department of Health has set up a hotline for anyone with questions about the mumps outbreak. The number to call is 877-826-0011. The agency said it’s working with university officials and county health departments to identify potential additional cases and prevent the spread of mumps.

Symptoms for mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mumps is spread from direct and indirect contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets, which can be transmitted through sneezing and coughing. People with mumps can spread the illness for up to two days before and five days after symptoms appear.

A virus causes the mumps, meaning antibiotics are ineffective. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms; recommendations include bed rest, a soft diet and a pain reliever for body aches.

Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after infection but can range from 12 to 25. In most cases, those infected with mumps will experience a mild illness and some may not have any symptoms at all. Rarely—in about 1 to 3 percent of cases—patients will have complications or more serious issues.

IUPUI provided the following tips:

  • Check your vaccination record with your primary care provider. Currently, the best way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated with two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, or MMR. Two doses of vaccine are considered to be only around 80 percent effective at preventing infection, so some people who have been fully vaccinated with two MMRs could still contract mumps. If you haven’t received the MMR vaccine, please get vaccinated immediately.
  • Practice good hygiene habits. Good habits — such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water; sneezing and coughing into a tissue or your elbow; and avoiding the sharing of drinks, food, and utensils — are a good way to prevent illness and transmission.
  • Stay home if you have any symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms, even if you received your MMR vaccine, stay home — away from others — and call your primary care provider or IUPUI Campus Health at 317-274-8214.