UPDATE: Mumps cases on rise at UW-Madison

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UPDATED Monday, April 21, 2014 --- 10:52 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- University health officials are warning students about a rise in confirmed cases of mumps at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The school says one to two students are showing up daily at campus health clinics with possible symptoms of the contagious viral illness.

Seven cases have been confirmed with the past few weeks. While that number is relatively small, Craig Roberts, epidemiologist for University Health Services, says all of the cases were fully immunized as children with two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

While most people immunized against mumps are protected for life, some may still get it due to waning immunity.

UW-La Crosse has one confirmed and two suspected case of mumps.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports statewide, there were 14 confirmed mumps cases as of Friday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


Updated Thursday April, 17, 2014 ---

UW-Madison says they're experiencing an outbreak of the mumps on campus. With 5 lab confirmed cases, and more students with mumps-like symptoms, the virus is highly contagious.

Because mumps is so rare, they're treating the handful of cases as an outbreak. The university is also taking into consideration the cases of mumps confirmed at UW-La Crosse and more than 200 hundred cases in Ohio. According to NBC news, 132 of those cases have been linked to Ohio State University.

"It's a viral infection that causes an infection of your salivary glands," said Craig Roberts University Health Services Epidemiologist.

A majority of the confirmed cases are those who have gotten the vaccination.

"For mumps, measles and rubella -- those three diseases together, it's usually given as a combination vaccine in childhood. Two doses, given after the first birthday," said Roberts.

But you may be surprised, the vaccine isn't perfect. For some, the immunity can wear off.

"The vaccine doesn't work forever, and it's not perfect so as people get older in some cases their immunity against the virus has been waning over time," said Roberts.

"I'm not too worried about it; I guess I'm not too worried," said UW Student, Carly Trotter.

But the virus is highly contagious, and is spread through saliva.

"People have jaw pain right at the angle of their jaw, and their salivary gland in their cheek becomes swollen and tender and they get this sort of chipmunk appearance," said Roberts.

If you've got it, that means a five day quarantine. Health Services recommends you stay away from others the whole time.

"That means they can't go to class, they can't go to work, they can't really participate in social activities during that time to reduce the risk of spread to their friends and roommates and family," said Roberts.

The virus usually goes away within a week on its own, and rarely poses any serious complications.

With many UW students visiting family for Easter, a case of the mumps is the last thing parents want their kids bringing home.

"I'm going home on Sunday," said Trotter.

Since the virus is spread through saliva, the same steps you would take to prevent the common cold or the flu are also your best best at preventing the mumps.

Even though it can wear off for some -- the vaccine is still your best line of defense.

"I'm for surely not up to date on my vaccinations," said UW Student, Eric Promer.

If you're like Promer, University Health Services is offering free vaccinations to their students.


Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014 --- 5:25pm

University Health Services is urging students to take precautions after several cases of mumps were confirmed at UW-Madison.

UHS has confirmed that three UW-Madison students were recently been diagnosed with mumps. The cases don’t appear to be connected.

Mumps is a viral illness spread from person to person through the air or by direct contact with saliva. Early symptoms usually begin 16 to 18 days after infection and are similar to those of the flu: fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.

“Like the flu, most healthy people with mumps recover completely after a week or two,” says UHS epidemiologist Craig Roberts. “But it’s still a contagious and uncomfortable illness that may cause serious complications in some people.”

Students are urged to get fully immunized with two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). They can do so at UHS for a fee.

If you are a student and experience the symptoms described above, call UHS at 608-265-5600 or use MyUHS to make an appointment. Students that have previously received two MMRs do not need a third shot.

UW-Madison isn’t alone when it comes to mumps cases. A large outbreak of mumps occurred this spring at Ohio State University.