6 cases of contagious mumps confirmed at 2 NC universities

North Carolina news

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — High Point University is taking action after the Guilford County Health Department and Novant Health helped to confirm five cases of mumps, a contagious infection, on campus Tuesday.

One case of mumps has also been reported at Elon University.

“The university continues to follow protocol to ensure the students impacted receive appropriate care and have been provided with alternative housing,” HPU said in a news release.

HPU also plans to clean at increased intervals in common areas as an added precautionary measure.

This confirmation comes after the university sent out a note to students and staff Wednesday.

The note said the on-campus health clinic identified five possible cases and let the health department know.

To help combat an outbreak, the university is working to keep the campus community informed about the symptoms and risks of mumps. The following frequently asked questions were compiled by the university:

Frequently Asked Questions:
We continue to work closely with the health department to ensure that all recommendations are followed to maintain the health and safety of the High Point University community.

What if someone thinks they’re sick?
Should anyone experience swelling of the glands around the ears or neck (symptoms associated with mumps), please contact the High Point University Student Health Center immediately at (336) 841-4683.

What causes mumps?
Mumps is a virus that is spread person to person through coughing and sneezing, or with direct contact with the saliva (spit) of the infected person. The virus can grow in the nose, throat and lymph nodes.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. The parotid salivary glands (which are located within your cheeks, near your jaw line, below your ears) are most often affected. Usually within 48 hours of these symptoms, parotitis develops. Parotitis is swelling of the parotid gland(s) and tends to cause pain in front of and below the ears. The swelling can occur on one side or both sides and often causes pain when moving the jaw, especially when chewing food. Some people with mumps have very little or no gland swelling. Symptoms tend to decrease after one week and usually resolve after 10 days.

Symptoms usually develop 16-18 days after infection, but may develop from 12-25 days after infection. A person with mumps is considered most contagious two days prior to and five days after the start of the gland swelling. They should avoid contact with others and not go to class or work for five days after the onset of swelling of the salivary glands.

How is it diagnosed?
A health care provider can diagnose mumps. Lab testing may be required.

How is it treated?
Management for mumps is similar to the flu. There is no treatment, only symptomatic relief. Take Motrin or Tylenol for fever and swelling, drink fluids and get plenty of rest. One of the most important steps you can take if you experience symptoms is to self-isolate, avoid travel and limit contact with others for five days from the onset of symptoms. For healthy people, there is very little risk of serious complications from the mumps.

How is it prevented?
You can help prevent the virus from spreading by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Additionally, washing your hands often with soap and water, avoiding sharing objects that might have saliva on them, like water bottles or cups, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables and counters, are key. The Campus Enhancement team has implemented cleaning at increased time intervals in common areas as an added precautionary measure.

Immunizations are the best preventive method and North Carolina law requires all college students to receive the MMR vaccination except for individuals with medical or religious exemptions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites an 88 percent effectiveness rate for individuals who previously received two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Public health authorities may recommend an additional dose of MMR for people who belong to groups at increased risk for mumps. An additional dose can help improve protection against mumps disease and related complications.

Is the university safe to visit?
Yes, it is safe to visit campus. The mumps is spread through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets. Casual contact, such as visiting campus, offers minimal risk.

Can university housing accommodate a room switch to prevent close contact with a symptomatic person?
Yes. Students in residence halls who are concerned about contracting mumps from a symptomatic roommate or suitemate are encouraged to speak with the Office of Student Life regarding elective, temporary relocation.

What if I have been exposed to someone?
The university remains in close contact with the Guilford County Health Department to address any further reports and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with those impacted.

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