The Onondaga County Health Department had previously not recommended a third measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) booster vaccination for the Syracuse University (SU) community, but things have changed.

Image/Syracuse University
Image/Syracuse University

Health officials are now working with SU and the New York State Department of Health in planning clinics to offer a booster dose of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) shot to SU student-athletes and undergraduate students.

The University is offering students a third MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) booster free of charge during two clinics in Flanagan Gymnasium on:

  • Thursday, Oct. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Why the change of policy?

School officials say that now that cases continue to climb on campus they meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria making a third shot appropriate, which includes a high two-dose vaccination coverage (all of SU’s students have been fully vaccinated); intense exposure settings likely to facilitate transmission (e.g., schools, colleges, shared living facilities); and a high attack rate and evidence of ongoing transmission for at least 2 weeks.

Although vaccination is your best protection, it’s not 100 percent effective. In fact, every Syracuse student who has contracted mumps has been properly vaccinated.

The CDC says two doses of mumps vaccine are 88% effective at preventing the disease; one dose is 78% effective. There are some strains of the virus that are not covered by the vaccine.

According to Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Indu Gupta, to date there are 27 confirmed cases and 45 probable cases that involve members of the SU campus community. There are also two probable cases in the community; one with a known link to SU, and one with no known link to SU.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or phones, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared. In addition, the virus may spread when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and someone else then touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose.

LISTEN: Mumps: Why it’s seen a resurgence

Up to half of people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and therefore do not know they were infected. The most common symptoms include: fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis).

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days.

LISTEN: Vaccines: How they work and some common misconceptions

Mumps is best known for the swelling of the cheeks and jaw, which is a result of swelling of the salivary glands. People who show symptoms usually recover after a week or two, but mumps can occasionally cause serious complications.

The most common complication is swelling of the testicles in males who have reached puberty. Other rare complications include: Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis); Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts in females who have reached puberty and Deafness.

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