6 cases of mumps confirmed at U of M campus

Mumps cases confirmed at University of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS - Six students at the University of Minnesota have confirmed cases of the mumps, according to a press release from officials. 

A letter was sent from Brooks Jackson, the U's dean of the medical school to students, faculty and staff making them aware of the confirmed cases on Thursday. 

All cases are said to be mild. 

Jackson states students and faculty who have been immunized are at "very low risk" for being infected, however those who haven't gotten their immunization could be vulnerable. 

Mumps is highly infectious and is transmitted through saliva or mucus from the mouth or nose. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing, plus sharing items such as cups or eating utensils and by touching surfaces with unwashed hands. 

University officials say the campus population is highly immunized, according to enrollment requirements. 

Those with mumps may have the following symptoms: puffy cheeks, swollen jaw, swollen salivary glands, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite or swollen salivary glands under the ears. 

Those with symptoms of the mumps are asked to stay home, isolated from others. 

Dr. Gary Christenson, at the University of Minnesota, said this is the first mumps outbreak on campus in 20 years. He said five of the six students were previously vaccinated, but the sixth, he wasn't sure about.

"It's concerning that yes, they exist, and we are concerned about the possibility of other cases showing up but taking that in mind, most individuals recover quite easily without any long-lasting effects and because of our highly immunized population we’re not expecting this to become a wide-spread issue on campus," he said. 

He added that it takes 16-18 days for symptoms to become apparent after someone is infected with the mumps.

The Minnesota Department of Health is involved in looking into the cases. In a statement, spokesperson Doug Schultz wrote:

"MDH is conducting case investigations, identifying potential exposures, and working with the UMN to coordinate messages. We work with health care providers to identify suspect mumps cases, provide infection control recommendations, and coordinate specimen collection for testing at our state public health laboratory."

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