In October 2016, NHS Lothian in Scotland reported on a measles outbreak with links to the University of Edinburgh. Now, the school’s Health and Safety Department issued a warning of an increase in mumps.

Infographic aimed at college students depicting symptoms of mumps and steps they can take to protect themselves.
Infographic aimed at college students depicting symptoms of mumps and steps they can take to protect themselves.

According to a letter to students from Karen Darling, Deputy Director of Health and Safety Department (see below): There is currently an increase in the number of cases of mumps within the Higher Education community in Edinburgh, which is affecting a number of local universities and colleges, including the University of Edinburgh.

The university is therefore working closely with the Health Protection Team NHS Lothian to raise awareness of mumps and minimize any further spread in our community.

The Deputy Director does not specify numbers of cases at the school.

Mumps is an acute viral illness. The infection can be easily spread from person to person by direct contact with saliva or droplets of saliva (e.g. via coughs and sneezes) from an infected individual. The signs, symptoms and complications of mumps include:

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swelling of salivary glands on one or both sides of the face

The infection usually passes within a week or two without causing any further problems but it can sometimes lead to complications.

Complications (infrequent)

  • Meningitis
  • Deafness
  • Swelling of testes or ovaries
  • Inflammation of the pancreas

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