Last week, the University of Iowa Student Health issued a health advisory because of “Additional University of Iowa students have tested positive for Mumps in the past few weeks”. Although they didn’t get very specific, the Johnson County Public Health Department (JCPHD) did and noted that a big percentage of mumps cases in the Hawkeye state were found right there in Iowa City.

Public domain image/ Billwhittaker at the wikipedia project
Public domain image/ Billwhittaker at the wikipedia project

According to a local media source, since Jul. 1, some 60 mumps cases have reported in Iowa with more than 80 percent of cases from Johnson County and two-thirds involving students at the University of Iowa.

The University is teaming up with the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Johnson County Health Department, and the State Hygienic Lab to identify and confirm mumps cases before they can spread.

U of I Student Health & Wellness reminds students to be alert to the signs and symptoms of mumps.

Mumps is an acute infectious viral disease that can cause swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands in the cheeks and jaw.

The virus is spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing and by direct contact with saliva and discharges from the nose and throat of infected individuals. Mumps is contagious three days prior to and four days after the onset of symptoms.

Symptoms of mumps usually appear 14 days to 18 days of infection. They usually include fever, headache, and swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands, usually the parotid gland (located just below the front of the ear at the angle of the jaw). In mild cases the swelling may only last for three days to four days, but it may go on even up to a week or more. Approximately one-third of infected people do not exhibit symptoms. There is no specific treatment for mumps.

Most complications that may arise involve other organs. Mumps can cause pain and swelling of the testicles, deafness and arthritis. It can cause central nervous system disorders such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal column).

Nationally, as of Sep. 18, 422 mumps cases have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63