East Coast Colleges Confirm Mumps Outbreaks
As college students started the 2019 -2020 academic year with significant optimism, nobody expected to become engulfed in a mumps virus outbreak on campus.
Unfortunately, mumps cases continue to be reported by colleges in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia during the Fall semester.
As of October 8, 2019, the following mumps virus outbreak information was available online:
- College of Charleston, SC - 5 cases
- Elon University, NC - 6 cases
- Ferrum College, VA - 5 cases
- High Point University, NC - 11 cases
- Moravian College, PA - 8 cases
These new mumps outbreaks are very limited when compared with Temple University’s 2019 Spring Semester. Temple was confronted with an extensive mumps outbreak that reached 186 individuals.
Temple, like most colleges, require the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine series for all matriculated students.
However, the MMR vaccine prevents most, but not, all mumps cases.
‘Several months after the start of the mumps outbreak, local health officials are still tallying up the cost of containing the disease. Patient zero was a student who acquired the infection outside of the country,’ said Dana Perella, the manager of the acute communicable disease program at the Philadelphia Department of Health.
‘While there are no reported cases of students contracting mumps during the summer, students should continue to practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.’
‘A good lesson learned is keeping an eye out for travel-associated illnesses, especially at the start of the semester,” Perella said to Temple News.
From a national perspective, 47 US states and the District of Columbia have reported 2,363 mumps infections between January to September 13, 2019, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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 Test <<
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, and
- 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 the 3rd dose of MMR vaccine for groups of people who are at risk because of an ongoing mumps outbreak.
Some college students can be granted an immunization waiver based on medical or religious reasons.
But, in the event of certain communicable disease emergencies, these exempted individuals can be excluded from campus activities in order to protect the health and welfare of the campus community.
Public health authorities may be more likely to recommend a 3rd MMR dose for:
- A small, defined target group
- A large population with intense close contact
- When the case count is rapidly increasing
- When the group at increased risk for acquiring mumps includes persons who might potentially transmit to a susceptible population, such as students who work in hospitals or childcare centers, as well as fraternities and sports teams.
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Mumps is a contagious viral infection spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat, that may result in parotitis, which causes swelling in the cheek and jaw area below the ear.
Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite, says the CDC.
Mumps can occasionally cause complications including deafness, inflammation of the testicles, brain, tissue covering the brain, ovaries, and breasts.
Mumps vaccination services are available at most pharmacies in the USA.
Vaccine news published by Precision Vaccinations