Mumps advisory

What it is and what you need to know

The University of Akron Student Health Services and the Summit County Health Department advise all students, faculty and staff to be aware that a mumps outbreak is occurring at The Ohio State University and the surrounding communities in Central Ohio.

While we have been informed by the Health Department that there are no confirmed cases in Summit County or the surrounding counties, it is likely that this virus is circulating in our area.

What is the mumps?

Mumps is a viral infection characterized by fever, body aches, headache, fatigue and swollen glands, namely the salivary glands in front of the ears (parotid). While most cases are mild and self-limiting, some people develop complications such as viral meningitis or orchitis (testicular inflammation). In very rare cases, deafness or sterility can occur. Symptoms, including fever and pain, can be alleviated with rest, fluids and medication.

How does mumps spread?

Mumps is very contagious and is most commonly spread by coughing or sneezing. Patients are contagious from two days before the onset of symptoms until five days after symptoms appear. Symptoms usually last 14-18 days after exposure. Ohio law requires patients with mumps to be isolated for five days after symptoms appear.

How can mumps be prevented?

In the United States, the mumps vaccine is available in the form of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (called MMR for short). This is administered at age one and repeated before kindergarten. After receiving two doses of MMR, 80 to 90 percent of people develop immunity to mumps. Those who do not develop immunity are nonetheless at a lower risk for complications. It is important, from a public health perspective, to maintain high rates of immunization in our communities to prevent the spread of mumps and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

What should you do?

Verify your immunization status. If you have not already done so, locate your immunization records. Have you had two doses of MMR? If you’re not sure, please visit Student Health Services in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. We can review your immunization record to make sure you are up to date.

If you have not been immunized against mumps with the MMR vaccine, or only received one dose, please call Health Services at 330-972-7808. You can also contact the Summit County Health Department at 330-923-4891 to schedule an appointment.

Wash your hands or use sanitizer frequently, and cover your cough and sneeze. Avoid sharing drinks and utensils.

What should you do if you think you have symptoms of the mumps?

Call Student Health Services at 330-972-7808 for an appointment to confirm the diagnosis. Above all, do not attend class, work or social events for five days after symptoms begin.

And don’t worry. While symptoms can be uncomfortable, complications are not common. Please encourage all your friends to check their immunization records.

Alma Olson
Director of Student Health Services