Health officials in Erie County, NY are investigating six possible mumps cases in off-campus students of SUNY Buffalo. According to University at Buffalo (UB) Student Health Services, health officials are investigating two probable and four suspected cases of mumps.
Working with UB’s office of Student Health Services, the Department of Health has taken the lead on this matter and is speaking with the students’ close personal contacts and with non-UB students who may have been in close contact with the students.
Local media report that students are on spring break until March 21. SUNY Buffalo is reviewing immunization records to identify students who may need to either be vaccinated or excluded from school when classes resume.
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.
Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications.
The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.
Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord(encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) infemales who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.
Mumps can be prevented with MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. Most children and young adults have received at least 1 dose of MMR vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine are more effective than 1 dose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Mar. 4, 250 mumps cases were reported nationally.