University warns students about mumps outbreak

University+warns+students+about+mumps+outbreak

Hannah Feakes

The university sent an email to students, faculty and staff on April 29 warning about a mumps outbreak on college campuses.

The mumps have spread to college campuses across the country. Sacred Heart University reported there were eight confirmed cases, according to NBC Connecticut. At Harvard University there have been 41 diagnosed cases within a month and a half, according NBC News.

Vice President and Dean of Students Monique Drucker sent the email on behalf of Dr. Philip Brewer, the university medical director. Quinnipiac has verified the vaccination status of all Quinnipiac students, according to the email.

There are zero known cases of the mumps on Quinnipiac campuses, according to Brewer.

“Wash your hands, avoid sharing pieces of food, do not sneeze in people’s faces. Use all the precautionary measures you would use to protect yourself against the flu or the cold,” he said.

Only a small portion of students living on both campuses have not yet received this vaccine, according to the email. Brewer encourages all students who do not have immunity to seek out the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination in the near future.

Freshman legal studies major Cassie Hardy said she received the mumps vaccination and thinks the health center should be educating students more on how to prevent the spread of mumps and other infectious diseases.

“It is important that all of the students are aware of the mumps outbreak on campuses and the possibility that it could come to Quinnipiac,” she said. “If not all of the students are vaccinated, it puts everyone in danger.”

Mumps is a contagious and infectious viral disease that causes swelling of the parotid salivary glands in the face and poses a risk of sterility in adult males. Mumps can have no symptoms, but some people can experience swollen, painful salivary glands, fever, headache, fatigue and appetite loss, according to Mayo Clinic.

According to Brewer, the mumps is a “communicable” disease and travels in clumps. It is most easily spread from college campus to college campus when students go to their hometowns and touch their families and friends who then go to their respective campuses and spread the illness that way.

Maggie Cashman, a senior health sciences major who lives off-campus, said the email was proactive and important for the university to address.

“It is helping students avoid something that is painful and can make them very sick,” she said. “Mumps is an illness that is not very well known by younger generations, but it is one that when educated on, can be very identifiable.”

Freshman biology major, Justin Rice thinks that another effective way to spread awareness would be to utilize the Resident Assistants (RAs).

“I feel like the email was the most efficient way to educate students about the outbreak, but maybe the RAs could put up flyers in the residence halls,” he said.

The email stressed that a case of the mumps is not a dangerous illness and fewer than one in 1000 cases will result in complications. Mumps is transmitted through saliva, sneezing and contact with contaminated surfaces, according to Mayo Clinic. To prevent yourself from being exposed to the mumps, refrain from sharing drinks, food and utensils.

Cashman said it is important for students to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of mumps across campus.

“Although most of my class has been vaccinated, the recent anti-vaccination movement has caused for a resurgence in many diseases and illnesses,” Cashman said. “Being a health sciences major, I can understand the importance of vaccines because not only does it protect the vaccinated person from getting sick, but it can actually protect another person who can’t get the vaccine through a process called herd immunity.”