Victoria Slater, Associate Editor

Miami University Student Health Services confirmed a case of mumps in a female student on campus May 2.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease of the respiratory system spread through saliva or mucus when someone coughs, sneezes or speaks. Director of University News and Communications Claire Wagner said symptoms can mirror those of more common and minor viral infections, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. However, a noticeable characteristic of the disease is swollen salivary glands beneath the ears or jaw.

“Incubation period can be a few weeks,” Wagner said.  “That is why it is important to get the word out, because it can look like a cold at first, but can progress into something much worse. We want students to be aware.”

Symptoms last on average between seven and 10 days and serious complications are rare, but could amount to infertility or meningitis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps was once a common illness in children and young adults, but has become relatively rare since the creation of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) in 1963, which is now widely used. The vaccine is usually administered in two doses to children – the first when the child is around 12 months old and the second before the child attends kindergarten. Further doses of the vaccine are generally not recommended. Those who did not receive the vaccination are susceptible to developing mumps.

Mumps outbreaks are popping up throughout the state, with 265 cases confirmed in central Ohio, according to USA Today. The first case was reported at The Ohio State University Feb. 11, and 176 cases have been reported there since.

To prevent the spread of mumps, Student Health Services advises students to wash their hands well with soap, avoid sharing food or utensils, clean surfaces that are frequently touched, minimize contact with those who are sick and cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing.

Those with concerning symptoms or seeking more information about mumps and how it is spread can visit the Health Center or call 513-529-3000 to make an appointment.

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