Mumps cases confirmed on UW-W campus

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*Editor’s Note: Story has been updated for the October 7, 2015 issue of the Royal Purple. The original story will remain published below the update.

October 7, 2015

 

Four new cases of mumps were reported on campus as of Oct. 5, bringing the total number of cases up to six.

The first two cases of mumps were confirmed by the University Health Counseling Services (UHCS) on the UW-Whitewater campus on Sept. 29.

UHCS has been working with the Walworth County Health Department and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in order to follow proper health guidelines when remedying the cases.

UHCS is currently waiting for results on two pending cases. Potential mumps cases are tested at UHCS and are then sent to Wisconsin’s State Lab of Hygiene.

Ruth Swisher, health director for UHCS, says she isn’t sure if the number of cases will continue to rise.

“None of us have a crystal ball, but it seems likely there will be some continued identification of cases,” Swisher said. “It’s hard to know if that number will be a small one coming in, or not.”

Students on campus don’t seem to be worried about contracting the mumps themselves, or were unaware of the potential risk.

“I’ve just heard that they’ve kept them contained,” senior Tyler Sasse said. “When I heard they were contained in their rooms, I freaked out a little bit because it’s supposed to be Wells East. I feel like confining two kids to the biggest building on campus is probably the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”

As a result, others who have been in close contact with either of the students are being screened for the disease as well, Swisher said.

Close contact does not necessarily mean being in the same lecture hall or classroom as the students who have been infected, Swisher said. There also haven’t been any outstanding commonalities between the individual cases, she added, so the likelihood of a single source of the outbreak is low.

Mumps is a disease resulting in parotitis, the swelling of salivary glands leading to a swollen jaw and puffy cheeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and tender salivary glands.

Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after the infection takes root, but can take up to 25 days to show in certain cases.

Students are being urged to take precautions and check their immunizations.

“We don’t want people to be worried, of course, but we want them to be prudent in the things that are recommended [for prevention],” Swisher said. “Another group that would be vulnerable is people whose parents chose to not have them vaccinated, some for religious reasons.”

Whatever the case may be, if they are not immunized, they don’t have the benefit of having the protection from the shot.

Students can check their immunization status at the Wisconsin Immunization Registry website dhsWIR.org.

If students did not have two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine last week when the first news of the viral infection broke, UHCS held a no-cost walk-in clinic for those students from Oct. 1 in the Ambrose Health Center. Any faculty and staff members who do not have their immunizations up to date will have to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy.

Students can still go to UHCS to get a shot if they missed the clinic, and vaccines are available to faculty and staff who were in direct contact with students who were confirmed to have the disease.

Students who have both doses of the MMR vaccine are encouraged to stay vigilant about their health and watch for symptoms.

Despite receiving both doses of the vaccine, there is still a chance students can contract the disease because of the high number of people who could be infected on campus.

It can be “disheartening” for students who have had both shots, Swisher said.

“Most are protected by the shot,” she said. “But that’s not uncommon.”

In addition to checking your vaccination records, UHCS also recommends taking other precautions such as watching for symptoms even if you’ve received the vaccination, taking typical preventative measures such as washing hands frequently and avoiding the practice of sharing utensils or food, maintaining a three-foot distance away from those who are sick and staying home from classes and activities if you are sick.

 

Sept. 30, 2015

 

Two cases of mumps were confirmed on the UW-Whitewater campus on Sept. 29.

The University Health Counseling Services department has been working with the Walworth County Health Department in order to follow proper health guidelines when remedying the cases.

As a result, others who have been in close contact with either of the students are being screened for the disease as well, said Ruth Swisher, heath director for UHCS.

Close contact does not necessarily mean being in the same lecture hall or classroom as the students who have been infected, Swisher said.

Mumps is a disease resulting in parotitis, the swelling of salivary glands leading to a swollen jaw and puffy cheeks, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and tender salivary glands.

Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after the infection takes root, but can take up to 25 days to show in certain cases.

Students are being urged to take precautions and check their immunizations.

“We don’t want people to be worried, of course, but we want them to be prudent in the things that are recommended [for prevention],” Swisher said. “Another group that would be vulnerable is people whose parents chose to not have them vaccinated, some for religious reasons.” Whatever the case may be, if they are not immunized, they don’t have the benefit of having the protection from the shot.

Students can check their immunization status at the Wisconsin Immunization Registry website dhsWIR.org.

If students do not have two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, UHCS will be holding a no-cost walk-in clinic from 4-6 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 1 in the Ambrose Health Center. Any faculty and staff members who do not have their immunizations up to date will have to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy.

In addition to checking your vaccination records, UHCS also recommends taking other precautions such as watching for symptoms even if you’ve received the vaccination, taking typical preventative measures such as washing hands frequently and avoiding the practice of sharing utensils or food and staying home from classes and activities if you are sick.