Multiple cases of mumps have been confirmed at Clemson University on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. Usually, people get vaccinated for mumps at a young age, but it is possible that some students or staff might have not been vaccinated at birth, and contracted the disease.
What Is Happening?
South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is warning Clemson University students and visitors that there have been many confirmed cases of mumps reported on campus.
According to Independent Mail, they cited that the department is warning that anyone who visited the university or resides on campus between November 21 and November 29 may have been exposed.
DHEC officials are also saying that the chance of infection for people who have gotten the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is lower, but it is imperative to check yourself and make sure that you don’t experience any of the symptoms. Even for those who are fully vaccinated when they were young, there is a slim chance that one might feel the symptoms and contract it.
“Mumps is a contagious, viral infection that may result in in parotitis, or swelling in one or both parotid salivary glands in the cheek and jaw area below the ear. Mumps is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, talking, kissing; sharing items such as drinks, cigarettes or eating utensils; or touching or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.”
In other words, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, washing your hands frequently is encouraged and sharing food and beverage is highly not recommended. Getting the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine would be a good start in ensuring that you have a higher chance of resisting the disease, which can be 88 percent effective in preventing mumps with two doses.
Before enrolling into the University, Clemson makes sure that its students present documentation of the MMR vaccination before letting them attend class, but some students have gotten waivers for religious reasons. Staff and faculty members are also not required to be immunized.
Vice President for Strategic Communications, Joe Galbraith said to WLTX 19, “The Redfern Health Center has begun directly contacting students for whom there is no immunization record on file.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, South Carolina had less than 20 cases of mumps in 2018 as of November 3.
What Are Mumps?
Mumps is a viral infection that attacks your saliva producing glands near your ears. When you are infected, your cheeks will look puffy, which are signs of your saliva glands swelling up. Symptoms typically begin 14-18 days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms of Mumps are:
- Pain in the swollen salivary glands on one or both sides of your face
- Pain while chewing or swallowing
- Muscle aches
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
To see more symptoms, check out Mayo Clinic for full details.
Mumps is usually not fatal except for extreme cases, but it can potentially cause permanent damage in kids as it could lead to neurological issues, deafness and many more. It is contagious through coughing and sneezing, so children the age of 5-14 are extremely susceptible to it.
It is crucial that you immediately go seek professional help if you feel ill with these symptoms because simply antibiotics will not help.
For more information regarding mumps, DHEC more things you should know about.