FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) – The State Health Department and Fairfield Health Department are looking into an outbreak of mumps on the campus of Sacred Heart University. According to the health officials there are eight confirmed cases of mumps at the school. In addition there are 9 more probable cases and another confirmed case at another Connecticut University.
The outbreak at Sacred heart comes as the school year is winding down. Classes end on May 2nd.
Students are required to get the vaccine so most should be protected.
Ann Mora, Director of Health Services, says “Our students are vaccinated so they’ve had very mild symptoms, usually headache, fever and then they developed a swelling. The swelling has been small to large swelling of the jaw. Most are carotid gland swelling. It’s lasting two to seven days, a few over seven days.”
The infected students are being isolated and told to practice good hygiene.
Mumps is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread through indirect or direct contact with an infected person’s nose or threat droplets, such as when a person coughs or sneezes according the health department. Symptoms include puffy cheeks and swollen jaw, fever, headache, muscles aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. However the health department says in some cases a person may have only mild or no symptoms at all.
Dr. Zane Saul, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Bridgeport Hospital says, “Most people are protected but for some reason some people’s start to wane. You know, it has been a long time since they’ve had a booster, maybe the booster they had wasn’t as effective and that’s what starts to happen. Plus you get a college campus where kids are all close together. They’re sort of living on top of each other and we see a lot of germs getting spread that way.”
Freshman Dan Montalvo says he’s not worried, “I know to stay clear. I read the things they tell you to watch out for, like wash your hands whatever. I share a bathroom with like 20 other dudes, I know that it kinda gets dirty there so..”
The health department suggests checking your vaccinations records. If you have been vaccinated for mumps your risk of getting it is low. However if you believe you may have mumps you should contact your health care provider immediately and be prepared to describe your symptoms.
Information on mumps can be found on the Center for Disease Control mumps website.