More than 30 patients monitored for mumps

Cheyene Miller [email protected]

About two weeks after UK officials confirmed three cases of mumps on campus, 36 students are being monitored and randomly tested for the virus.

According to Director of Nursing for Student and Employee Health Mindy Scott, it is not uncommon for mumps outbreaks to hit college campuses because the disease spreads most effectively in close quarters.

Scott said the original three confirmed student cases were diagnosed in early February, and it is possible these students were infected over the holiday break.

The most common symptom of mumps is swollen salivary glands, which cause inflamed cheeks and a swollen jaw.  Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Symptoms typically don’t appear until 12 to 25 days after the initial infection, according to Scott. She said this is why it is likely that the student was originally infected in January and possibly while away for break.

Scott said there are no other current cases of mumps in Kentucky, but UK health officials are working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Kentucky Department of Public Health to prevent further outbreaks in the state. 

“When there is an outbreak of a disease, we don’t test every patient that presents with symptoms. Instead, we do more of a surveillance and will test random patients,” Scott said.

Cases of mumps in the U.S. every year range from a few hundred to a few thousand, according to the CDC.

The most effective prevention against mumps is the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine. Once infected, there is no cure for mumps, and those infected should avoid contact with others to prevent further spreading.

Students at colleges and other post-high school educational facilities who have no protection against mumps need two doses of the MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days, according to the CDC.

Students with symptoms can go online and make an appointment via the Student Health Link on the My UK portal or by calling 589-323-APPT(2778) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.