Officials with Texas State University in San Marcos are reporting several confirmed and probable mumps cases in students. Two students have been diagnosed with mumps and two other students are probable cases of mumps.  Three of the cases are related due to close contact.

Infographic aimed at college students depicting symptoms of mumps and steps they can take to protect themselves.
Infographic aimed at college students depicting symptoms of mumps and steps they can take to protect themselves.

Based on a mumps incubation period of 12-25 days, new cases of mumps could develop through May 28th.  The university is working with the Hays County Local Health Department to identify and notify other close contacts.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection caused by a paramyxovirus.  Mumps typically occurs in the late winter or early spring.  School-aged children or college-aged young adults tend to be infected most often.  With the implementation of a mumps vaccination program in 1967, mumps cases decreased by 99% in the United States.  However, the number of mumps cases increased significantly in 2016 and 2017.  While individuals who have not been immunized for mumps are most vulnerable, even those who have been immunized can be infected.

Mumps is highly infectious and spread by respiratory droplets or direct contact.  Transmission can occur through coughing, sneezing, kissing, sharing cups or utensils or touching surfaces that are contaminated with the virus. The incubation period is usually 16-18 days from exposure but can range from 12 to 25 days.  Individuals with parotitis (salivary gland swelling and tenderness below the ear) are most infectious from two days before to five days after the onset of parotitis.

Mumps typically begins with symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.  These symptoms are then usually followed by salivary gland swelling and pain below the ears and jaws within 2 days.  Parotid salivary gland swelling can occur on one or both sides of the face.  Parotid gland swelling can persist for up to 10 days.  Some individuals may have mild or no symptoms.  Most individuals will recover completely within a few weeks.

Complications of mumps may include testicular swelling and pain (orchitis), pelvic pain due to inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis), inflammation of the linings around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), brain swelling (encephalitis) and loss of hearing.

No specific antiviral treatment is available for mumps.  Management of the illness consists of supportive care, rest and the use of medication for fever or pain such as Tylenol or Advil.

Immunization is the best way to prevent mumps infection.  Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at least 28 days apart are recommended for proper immunization and have been shown to be 88% effective in preventing infection.  However, immunity decreases over time.

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