Mumps cases on campus double

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By Sidney Birkett

Nov. 4, 2015

 

The current number of mumps cases has increased with six new cases, bringing the number to 12 confirmed cases on campus.

The last confirmed case was on Oct. 23.

At the moment, there are no pending cases. This means there is no one that has been tested and is awaiting results, said Ruth Swisher, health director for the University Health Counseling Services (UHCS).

Swisher said students may be seeing health care providers outside of the university. If any cases are confirmed, public health is very good at notifying UHCS.

“When you look at the dates, our first series of cases started the last week of September and went through the first week of October. Then we had no positive cases until the 14th of October,” Swisher said. “This means we’re in the second generation. The students [we’re seeing recently are] likely contacts of the first generation of positive cases.”

Contacts are people who have been in close contact with those diagnosed with mumps. Swisher said contacts should be cautious and watch their health. If they start to show symptoms and are feeling ill, they should get checked as soon as possible. One of the key symptoms is swollen or pained cheeks or jaw.

If a contact gets ill, they need to be quarantined until it can be determined if it is a positive case or not.

Swisher said it is important to be careful regardless of symptoms because mumps can be spread two days before and five days after symptoms show.

“We know that we shouldn’t be sharing food and beverages and other things that might expose a person to respiratory droplets or saliva when we’re sick,” she said. “[Students] can still be transmitting this even before they know they’re sick. So the emphasis should be how to prepare. Don’t share. Be aware of those precautions.”

Swisher suggested students should get vaccinated if possible, as when more people are vaccinated, everyone on campus is safer. Those who are not vaccinated are the most vulnerable. Swisher said it is important to note that even if a vaccination has been given, a person can still get the illness.

To prevent the illness, Swisher said the campus is notifying professors when they have students who have been diagnosed. This way, other students are aware, as out of the fourteen cases as of last week in Wisconsin, twelve of them have come from Whitewater. Last year, there were 52 cases in Wisconsin but no cases in Whitewater.

Late last week it was reported that a thirteenth person was diagnosed with mumps from a UW-W student, although they are not a student at the university and live in Rock County. In addition, three people from UW-Platteville have been diagnosed with the disease.

UHCS will offer MMR vaccines from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the Williams Center conference room and from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Nov. 5 in the University Center Hamilton Room. Aside from these upcoming clinics, vaccines are available by appointment.

Anyone feeling ill or showing symptoms can call UHCS or come and schedule an appointment to get tested. Swisher said it is also important to know if you have been in contact with someone with mumps, and also to just be cautious and know that mumps is an issue here on campus.