CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- The University of Virginia has issued an alert to students, following a confirmed case of the mumps on Grounds.
Officials say there are four other suspected cases currently, but they're awaiting final test results for confirmation.
The following is a press release from the executive director of Student Health:
This message is to alert you that there have been one confirmed and four suspected cases of mumps diagnosed at Student Health. Final test results are pending, and we do not have confirmation that the disease is actually circulating.
In addition, the United States is experiencing a multistate outbreak of measles. At this time, no measles cases have occurred in Virginia. The CDC, however, has recommended that all persons be vaccinated to prevent infection.
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 about18 days after exposure, but may appear any time within 12 to 25 days. Mumps is contagious during this time, as well as after symptoms appear. Students with mumps will be asked not to participate in University activities during this period of contagion.
Measles is a highly contagious viral respiratory disease spread through the air (coughing and sneezing). Initial symptoms include a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and a sore throat, followed by a rash that spreads all over the body, starting at the head. Common complications include ear infections and diarrhea. Severe complications may include pneumonia, encephalitis, or death.
The mumps and measles vaccine, usually MMR, is the best way to protect yourself against mumps and measles. If you have not completed the two-shot series, you should do so now. You can make an online appointment to get the vaccine at https://www.healthyhoos.virginia.edu. If you have questions regarding vaccination in the context of your medical exemption, please contact General Medicine at 982-3915 to speak with a nurse.
Given the closely shared living environment of many students, please remember some simple but important measures that can be helpful in avoiding mumps and other contagious diseases:
Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
Avoid sharing drinking and eating utensils.
Cover your mouth and nose, preferably with a tissue, when coughing or sneezing.
If you do develop symptoms, stay home and call Student Health (982-3915) to determine the best steps to take.
These measures are a good idea at any time, but especially now during flu season and with the possibility that additional cases of mumps might occur.
If you have symptoms suggesting mumps, we strongly recommend that you contact Student Health General Medicine at 982-3915. If you have questions regarding your immunization status, please call Student Health Medical Records at 924-1525.
If you need to reach Student Health on the weekend or after regular business hours, an on-call clinician is available at 972-7004.
Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Department of Student Health