Health officials with the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services are reporting five laboratory confirmed mumps cases in the area with two suspected cases still pending results.

According to Public Information Officer with the health department, Andrea Waner, the cases are all from the University of Missouri. The individuals who were identified are ages 20-23.

The University Student Health Center noted on their website: We continue to take measures to ensure a healthy student population at Mizzou; we encourage all of our students, prospective students and visitors to assure vaccinations are up-to-date. MU requires that all newly enrolled or readmitted students born after Dec. 31, 1956 have a two-dose MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination.

mumpsIn 2014, mumps outbreaks hit several college campuses including the University of Idaho, Ohio State University and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, among others.

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 softdrink 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) in females who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.

In 2014, 1,151 people in the United States have been reported to have mumps, according to the CDC.