No Mumps on Campus: ESU Says Take Precautions

Photo Credit / Sean Mickalitis
Symptoms of the mumps appear 16-18 days after the virus is exposed and can be transmitted through body fluids.

Cole Tamarri 

Managing Editor 

Lab results from the suspected mumps outbreak came back negative, according to an ESU email. The suspected case was originally reported on Friday, April 12.

However, due to recent outbreaks in Philadelphia and New York, ESU is encouraging student to “be aware of the symptoms and take precautions to keep you and others healthy.” 

Dr. Doreen Tobin, vice president of Student Affairs said that the idea of the emails that began last Friday were to allow students who may be at the university who do not have the MMR vaccine or want a booster shot to be given time to consult with their doctor for what would be best for them. 

Tobin stressed that there was no cause for panic at this time, and that the university “will work to support our campus community as needed.”  

There is a plan in place in case there would be an outbreak of the mumps on campus, with a clinic that will set up on campus the week of April 22, and a web page with necessary information and FAQs can be found at www.esu.edu/mumps. Details on the clinic will be forthcoming over the next few days, along with a link to register.

Additionally, students can receive vaccines in East Stroudsburg at Walmart located at 355 Lincoln Ave. for $87.88 or at  the RiteAid located at 188 Cortland St. for $88. However, these prices are out of pocket costs and can vary based on insurance coverage. 

According to the Center for Disease Control’s website, symptoms for mumps present 16-18 days after exposure, but the period can range from 12-25 days.

These symptoms are: fever, headaches, feeling lethargic, appetite loss, swelling in the cheeks, and one’s jaw feeling tender or extremely sore. Depending on the severity of the case, these symptoms can be mild and present like a standard cold, and the swelling and tender jaw generally indicate a more severe case, according to the CDC. 

Although vaccination does greatly decrease the chances of a person contracting the mumps, no vaccine is 100% effective.

Mumps is primarily spread through saliva, and as Dr. Abdalla Aldras, ESU biology professor explained, the disease primarily occurs in places where people are consistently in close contact with one another, such as university campuses. Mumps can be spread through sharing drinks, sharing food, touching one’s mouth then another surface, and kissing.

Those students who are immunocompromised need to take particular precautions during a potential outbreak.

Aldras explained that the vaccine is “a weakened, attenuated version of the virus” and for those with healthy immune systems, this is no problem, but those with compromised immune systems, the vaccine can cause more harm than good.

In another campus-wide update issued Tuesday, April 16, the university advised students to “wash hands frequently and effectively” and to “cover mouths when coughing and sneezing.”

There is no treatment of mumps once contracted, only management of the symptoms to alleviate pain and swelling, according to the CDC.

If a person does exhibit symptoms, the most important action for the individual to take is to isolate themselves from other people as much as possible for five days after the onset of the virus, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Students who have additional questions or believe they may have symptoms are encouraged to contact Amy Freeman, director of health and wellness at (570) 422-3804.

Additional information can also be found at www.cdc.gov/mumps or www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mumps.

Email Cole at:

ctamarri@live.esu.edu

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