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Mumps: Please Take Precautions

February 1, 2017
To: 
All University Students
From: 
Christopher P. Holstege, UVA Executive Director of Student Health

Dear Students:

This message is to alert you that one confirmed case and a second suspected case of mumps have been diagnosed in our student population. In addition, significant outbreaks are occurring across the country. This email provides information about mumps, how to help avoid an outbreak on Grounds, and guidance if you become ill.

While serious complications are rare, the mumps virus often causes fever, headache, muscle aches, and/or swelling and tenderness of the glands close to the jaw. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes or through direct contact with the saliva of an infected person. Symptoms usually appear about 18 days after exposure, but may appear any time within 12 to 25 days. Mumps is contagious three days before and five days after the onset of swelling of the glands close to the jaw.

Given that students with mumps will be isolated for five days and asked not to participate in University activities during their period of contagion, we want to help you protect yourself from the virus. The best protection against mumps is the mumps vaccine, usually MMR. If you have not completed the two-shot series, you should do so now. You can make an appointment to get the vaccine via the Healthy Hoos patient portal at www.healthyhoos.virginia.edu. If you have questions regarding your immunization status, please review your immunization record on the Healthy Hoos patient portal or call Student Health Medical Records at 434-924-1525. If you have questions regarding vaccination in the context of your medical exemption, please contact General Medicine at 434-982-3915 to speak with a nurse.

Many students live in closely shared living and academic environments, and some simple but important measures can be helpful in avoiding mumps and other contagious diseases:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come into contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

These strategies are a good idea at any time, but especially now during flu season and with the possibility of additional mumps cases.

If you have symptoms suggesting mumps, we strongly recommend that you stay home and contact Student Health General Medicine at 434-982-3915 to determine the best steps to take. If you call Student Health on the weekend or after regular business hours, an on-call clinician is available for consultation.

Sincerely,

Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Executive Director
Department of Student Health