Updated
November 6th, 2019

Can Clemson Defeat A Mumps Outbreak?

Mumps outbreaks reported by UK and U.S. universities during the 2019 academic year

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The ongoing mumps virus outbreak at east coast colleges has now reached the NCAA football powerhouse Clemson University.

Clemson University officials and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced on October 26, 2019, that a person on the main campus has a confirmed case of mumps.

The DHEC officials sent an ‘exposure letter’ to the people most likely affected, so they can monitor for mumps symptoms, reported WYFF4 news.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat, which may result in parotitis, which causes swelling in the cheek and jaw area below the ear, says the DHEC.

In South Carolina, college students can be granted an immunization waiver based on medical or religious reasons, reports the DHEC.  

But there is good news regarding mumps just 132 miles south from ‘Death Valley’ on I-26 in Columbia, SC, where the University of South Carolina (UofSC) is located.

As of October 26, 2019, the UofSC website says ‘We are cautiously optimistic and thankful that U of SC has not experienced a measles outbreak on our campus. This public health concern has been widely reported and has caused some universities to implement quarantine measures.’

Unfortunately, the College of Charleston (CoC), has been battling a mumps outbreak since early September 2019.

According to reporting on October 23rd, the CoC has now confirmed 11 mumps cases in college-related persons during 2019.

South Carolina is not the only east coast state reporting mumps outbreak at colleges.

Colleges in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have reported mumps cases during the Fall semester. 

As of October 26, 2019, the following mumps virus outbreak information was available online:

Mumps outbreaks have also been reported in the United Kingdom (UK) during the Fall 2019 academic year.

As of October 16th, Public Health Wales has been informed of 28 suspected cases of mumps among people who attend universities in Cardiff and Cwm Taf.

Separately, to the west of Wales in Ireland, university students in Dublin are being warned that there has been an increase of mumps cases in college students.

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In September, Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified of 69 cases of mumps, which compared to 56 cases for the same time period in 2018.

Some 58 percent of these mumps cases were in the 15 to 24 year age group, where school, university or social settings were reported as the most likely place for mumps cases to have originated.

Most colleges in the USA and the UK, require the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine series for all matriculated students.

However, the MMR vaccine prevents most, but not, all mumps cases. 

The CDC says it’s important to note that even people who have previously had 1 or 2-doses of the MMR vaccine can still contract mumps.

>>  Private Mumps Testing  <<  

According to new research from the Emory Vaccine Center, the mumps vaccine appears to deliver ‘insufficient immunity’ in college-aged individuals who were vaccinated in their childhood.

These Emory researchers, along with the CDC, said in a September 2019 press release, there are 2 possible contributing factors impacting the mumps vaccine’s protection.

These factors are:

  • The ‘waning’ of the vaccine-induced immunity
  • The differences between the strain of the mumps virus now circulating and the mumps strain currently contained in the MMR vaccine

Previously, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices approved a 3rd dose of MMR vaccine for groups of people who are at risk because of an ongoing mumps outbreak.

Mumps vaccine news

From a USA perspective, between January to October 11, 2019, 48 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S. reported mumps infections in 2,618 people to the CDC.

During 2018, only 2,251 mumps cases were confirmed by the CDC.

In the USA, there are 2 vaccines, MMR-II and ProQuad approved for mumps virus protection, and vaccine discounts can be found here.

Mumps vaccine news published by Precision Vaccinations