The University of Missouri Student Health Center issued a mumps alert yesterday upon announcing that five confirmed cases of mumps have been identified in MU students since the beginning of the Fall semester.

Mumps virus/CDC
Mumps virus/CDC

In addition, health officials are investigating five other possible cases.

Mumps is an acute viral infection of the salivary glands. Symptoms include swelling and tenderness of the cheeks, usually preceded by fever, headache and muscle aches. Mumps infection can also lead to more serious health complications such as testicular infection and inflammation, meningitis, and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Transmission occurs through sneezing, coughing, contact with saliva (through sharing of utensils, towels, kissing, sharing cigarettes and drinks, etc.), or from contact with surfaces that have become contaminated with the mumps virus. The incubation period is 16–18 days, and individuals are considered most infectious from 2 days prior through 5 days after the onset of symptoms.

Student health offers the following recommendations if you present symptoms of mumps:

  • Call the Health Center (573-882-7481) or your medical provider.
  • Stay at home for five days after symptoms begin. You are asked to stay home from class during the time period you are contagious.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Mumps is becoming increasingly more common on college campuses in the United States. The disease has been reported on multiple college campuses in 2016 including the State University of New York at Buffalo,Indiana University, University of Kentucky, University of San Diego, University of Southern Maine, Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and Harvard University, among others.