A Public Health Message about Mumps for UVA Students
On September 22, 2006, a UVA student was found to have symptoms that are compatible with mumps. Since that time other probable cases have also been identified. Mumps is an acute viral disease. It may be spread from an infected person to others when he or she has very close contact with others and they are exposed to his or her respiratory droplets; for example, if the infected person sneezes on someone or shares eating or drinking utensils with someone.
If you are vaccinated, your risk of contracting this illness, even if exposed to it, is small. The current recommendation is for college students to receive two mumps-containing vaccinations, usually given as a combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella. It is commonly referred to as the MMR vaccine. Among persons having received two doses, the mumps vaccine is 90% - 95% effective.
When someone is diagnosed with mumps, the health department contacts those people that the infected person was in very close contact with during the period when the infected person was infectious. A person is only infectious three days before the onset of salivary gland swelling until nine days afterwards. The health department explains to the people who were potentially exposed to mumps the symptoms of mumps so that they can monitor themselves for these symptoms. It takes 12 to 25 days for someone exposed to mumps to develop mumps symptoms. The most commons symptoms of mumps infection include low grade fever, headache, body aches, and swollen and tender salivary glands.
If someone develops mumps-like symptoms, it is important that he or she takes precautions to help minimize the spread to others. A person with these types of symptoms should immediately call the Elson Student Health Center for assistance.
More information concerning mumps infection is available through the Elson Student Health Center, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites at: