In a follow-up on the mumps situation at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, VA, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Health Department reports mumps infections have been confirmed by lab testing in five staff members and 14 students as of Tuesday.
In addition, lab results are currently pending for three additional students. Health officials are also investigating several additional cases in the region that are apparently unrelated to JMU.
Mumps is a mild to moderate contagious viral illness that is spread by close contact with an infectious individual through coughing, sneezing or contact with saliva of an infected person (sharing drinks, utensils, etc.). Mumps is usually self-limited, with symptoms appearing 12 to 25 days after exposure. Symptoms include body aches, fever and swollen or tender salivary glands.
The health department is advising students and community members to review their immunization status and contact their health care provider to receive vaccine as needed. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) is usually given when a child is 1 year old and again between the ages of 4 and 6 years. The mumps vaccine is 88 percent effective in people who receive two doses, but some fully immunized individuals may still develop mumps. A third dose of MMR vaccine may be recommended for individuals at high risk for infection due to close contact with someone who has mumps.
Best ways to prevent mumps include:
- Wash hands well and often with soap;
- Don’t share eating utensils or beverage containers;
- Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes;
- Limit your contact with people who are known to have or are suspected of having mumps.
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