Kent State University Health Services and the health departments of the City of Kent and Portage County have recently become aware of confirmed mumps at Kent State University – Kent Campus.
University Health Services is advising all students and university employees that it is likely that the mumps virus is circulating in the vicinity and advising everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this virus.
Mumps is a viral illness characterized by fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite and swollen glands, especially the salivary glands in front of the ear (parotids). While most cases do not lead to serious complications, some patients may develop viral meningitis (inflammation of the brain covering) or orchitis (testicular inflammation). Very rarely, deafness or sterility may result. Mumps is common during winter and spring months.
Mumps is contagious and is most commonly spread by coughing and sneezing. Patients are contagious from two days before until five days after their symptoms develop. Symptoms usually appear 14-18 days after exposure, although it may vary from 14 to 25 days. Ohio law requires patients with mumps to be isolated for five days after the onset of symptoms.
In the United States, the mumps vaccine is given in combination with measles and rubella (MMR) at age 1, with a second dose prior to kindergarten entry. After two doses of vaccine, 80-90 percent of people will develop immunity to mumps. While vaccination does not protect everyone from developing mumps, individuals who do get mumps after being vaccinated are at lower risk of complications. Maintaining a high rate of immunizations in the community helps to prevent the spread of mumps.
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