An outbreak of mumps has struck the 500-year-old college as at least 18 people have contracted the contagious disease, according to a report in The Oxford Times today.

Brasenose College bursar Philip Parker said: “There have been 18 cases. All of those students have either gone home or we’re segregating them from other students with a quarantine area. “Of course we’re concerned, but we’ve acted well and taken steps to contain it.”

Mumps virus/CDC
Mumps virus/CDC

Health authorities with the Health Protection Agency are working in conjunction with the college to ensure the best information is given to students. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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.