Just weeks after James Madison University (JMU) postponed a couple of basketball games due to mumps in the coaching staff, the school announced that they are experiencing several confirmed cases of mumps as well as several cases that are suspected and pending final test results.


Students who have been positively diagnosed or who are suspected of having the virus have been referred to the Virginia Department of Health and are being directed to self-isolate for five days after the onset of swollen salivary glands.

Mumps is a mild to moderate contagious viral illness that is spread by close, usually face-to-face, contact with an infectious individual, through coughing, sneezing or contact with saliva of an infected person (sharing cups, utensils, etc.). Mumps is usually self-limited, with symptoms appearing 12 to 25 days after exposure. Symptoms include body aches, fever and swollen or tender salivary glands.

The vaccine is very effective, but up to 10 percent of people who receive two doses of vaccine still remain susceptible to infection with mumps. If a vaccinated individual gets mumps, it is expected that they will usually have illness that is less severe and symptoms will likely be of shorter duration.

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Treatment for mumps involves isolating infected individuals for five days from the onset of salivary gland swelling and treating symptoms as needed. If someone with, or suspecting they have, mumps seeks medical attention, they should call their doctor in advance to avoid the waiting room so as not to infect other patients.

Best practices for mumps prevention include:

  • Wash hands well and often with soap;
  • Don’t share eating utensils or beverage containers;
  • Surfaces that are frequently touched (doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) should also be regularly cleaned with soap and water or with cleaning wipes;
  • Limit your contact with people who have known mumps symptoms.