In a follow-up on the mumps alert at the University of Missouri, the Student Health Center at the school now reports seventeen confirmed cases of mumps in MU students since the beginning of the Fall semester.
Additional students with clinical signs and symptoms of mumps are awaiting test results.
Mumps is an infection caused by the mumps virus. Symptoms of mumps usually include swelling on one or both sides of the face, tenderness of the salivary glands (the cheek and jaw area), slight fever, headache, general aches, and muscle pain.
The parotid salivary glands (located within the cheek, near the jaw line and below the ears) are most frequently affected. This swelling of the parotid glands is commonly called “parotitis.” Swelling of the testicles (orchitis) occurs in 20 to 30 percent of males if infection occurs after puberty.
In rare cases, mumps can cause meningitis (swelling of the brain and spinal cord) or inflammation of the brain itself, known as encephalitis. Mumps infection during the first three months of pregnancy may be linked to miscarriage.
The mumps virus is found in the saliva and fluid in the nose and throat and spreads from person-to-person by coughing, sneezing, or by direct contract with nose and throat secretions. Infected individuals can transmit the virus two days before symptoms appear and up to five days after symptoms begin. Symptoms of mumps can appear 12 to 25 days after exposure, but usually begin within 16 to 18 days.
The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. According to the CDC, two doses of mumps vaccine are 88% (range 66% to 95%) effective at preventing the disease; one dose is 78% range (49% to 91%) effective.