Mumps Cases Diagnosed at the University of Virginia

October 24, 2006

Oct. 24, 2006 -- The Thomas Jefferson Health District announced on Oct. 16 that that three  University of Virginia undergraduates who have developed symptoms consistent with mumps have been confirmed as having the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, three or more confirmed cases of mumps are considered an outbreak.

The first probable case was reported by the University's Student Health Center on Friday, Sept. 22.

Current information about mumps will be posted on the Focus on Issues page.

"We continue to monitor the situation and are waiting for further results to determine whether the other people have the virus. We are also working with community physicians to quickly identify any new cases," said Thomas Jefferson Health District Director, Lilian Peake, M.D., M.P.H.

 "While vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease, it is not always 100 percent effective. Up to 10 percent of fully vaccinated people may remain susceptible," said Peake.

The health department and U.Va. have worked together closely to provide opportunities for unvaccinated students to get the shots and to take steps to reduce the risk that infected students will pass the disease on to others.

Once a student has been clinically diagnosed with a probable case of mumps, University students return home until recovering. For international students or those who live far from Charlottesville, the University has set aside special housing in which they can live temporarily.

"We have dubbed the facility 'Mumps House,'" said Patricia M. Lampkin, the University's Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer. "We felt it was important to provide those who could not get home with a place where they could recover without further infecting the community."
While there currently is only one student in the facility, three have been housed there over the past several weeks. The University also provides food and other necessary items while they are there.

Mumps is a virus that can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, and swelling and tenderness of the glands close to the jaw.  Serious complications are rare. 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 the onset of swelling of the glands close to the jaw.

Washing your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water, avoiding sharing drinking and eating utensils, and staying home if you have developed symptoms consistent with mumps can help decrease the spread of illness. If symptoms occur, call your physician and ask whether you should be seen.

• A Mumps Hotline (924-1525) has been established at Student Health for those with questions.
• Updated information will be available at the Student Health Web site
• More information on mumps is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site

Health Department Contact:
Dr. Lilian Peake
Thomas Jefferson Health District
(434) 972-6219 or (434) 963-6521