Email sent to students on November 3, 2017
A Wake Forest University undergraduate student has been evaluated for a possible case of mumps. The student was assessed and isolated to prevent the spread of this infection to members of the Wake Forest community. Wake Forest University is working with the Forsyth County Department of Public Health and the North Carolina Department of Public Health, Communicable Disease Branch, to evaluate and manage the situation. The student is excluded for the recommended isolation period.
No other suspected cases of mumps have been identified. Close contacts of this student have been identified and will be contacted by the health department to discuss any potential risk of infection and to discuss steps to remain healthy. Classroom contact is not considered a high-risk exposure. Faculty, staff and students who were in classes with the affected student are not considered to be at high risk.
Mumps is a viral illness whose main symptom is swelling of the salivary glands below the ears and above the jaw. Additional symptoms may include low grade fever, muscle aches, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. Students who experience these symptoms should seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible at the Student Health Service or other medical facility.
Additional information for students and their families can be found on the Student Health Service web site including frequently asked questions about mumps. This information will be updated if additional recommendations are received from the Forsyth County Health Department and the North Carolina Department of Public Health.
Information and FAQs
Possible Case of Mumps
A Wake Forest University undergraduate student has been evaluated for a possible case of mumps. Wake Forest University is following the direction of the Forsyth County Health Department and The North Carolina State Health Department to evaluate and manage the situation. The student was assessed and isolated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of this infection to members of the Wake Forest community, and the student will remain excluded for the recommended isolation period.
No other suspected cases of mumps have been identified. Close contacts of this student have been identified and will be contacted by the Health Department to discuss any potential risk of infection and steps to remain healthy. Students who have not been contacted by the health department are not considered to be at high risk.
Wake Forest University students are required to have two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in order to register for classes, with the exception of students who are exempted under specific circumstances. The vast majority of our student population have received the recommended vaccine series. If you have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine, CDC recommends becoming adequately immunized to reduce the chance of contracting this infection. To check your immunization records: https://shs.wfu.edu/immunization-compliance/
Treatment for mumps is focused on relieving symptoms.
About Mumps: Mumps is a viral illness best known for causing parotitis, a swelling of the salivary glands below the ears and above the jaw. Other symptoms may include low-grade fever, muscle aches, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite and headache. Medical complications can occur, including orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) in men; however most people fully recover from mumps.
Information about mumps may be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Q. What is mumps?
A. Mumps is a viral illness that can cause fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue, swelling of the salivary glands or pain with chewing or swallowing. About a third of the people who contract the mumps do not develop any symptoms.
Q. How does the mumps spread?
A. Mumps is most commonly spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and a non-infected person inhales respiratory droplets that contain the virus.
Q. When can mumps be spread?
A. People with mumps are usually contagious from two days before to five days after they develop symptoms. A person is most contagious just before the symptoms appear.
Q. How soon after the infection do symptoms occur?
A. Symptoms usually occur 16 to 18 days after infection. The time between infection and illness can be as short as 12 days or as long as 25 days.
Q. What should I do if I experience symptoms of mumps?
A. SEEK MEDICAL CARE TO BE PROPERLY DIAGNOSED. Students should call the Student Health Service at 336-758-5218 for advice.
Q. What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to mumps?
A.*Check your immunization records to make sure you have had two doses of vaccine.
*To check your immunization records: https://shs.wfu.edu/immunization-compliance/
*Be aware of signs and symptoms of mumps and seek medical care if these develop.
Q. Can mumps be treated?
A. There are currently no medications to treat the mumps virus. Instead, treatment is focused on relieving symptoms until your body’s immune system fights off the infection. People who show symptoms usually recover after a week or two.
Q. What are the symptoms of mumps?
A. The most common symptoms include:
*Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears
*Loss of appetite
*Inflammation of the testicles in men
Q. How can a person with mumps avoid spreading it to others?
A.*Stay at home for five days after symptoms (salivary gland swelling) begin; avoid school, work, social gatherings, and other public settings.
*Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
*Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleanser.
Q. Is there a vaccine to prevent mumps?
A. Yes, the mumps vaccine is given on or after a child’s first birthday. In the U.S., it is usually combined with the measles and rubella vaccines, together known as MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella). A second dose of mumps vaccine is recommended before children enter school (when they are four to six years old). People who receive two doses of mumps vaccine are much less likely to develop mumps than those who have one dose or none. Two doses of the mumps vaccine are estimated to be 88% effective in preventing the disease.
Q. Can people who have been vaccinated still get the mumps?
A. People who have had mumps vaccine are usually protected for life against mumps infection; however, it is not a guarantee. Many cases of mumps occur in previously immunized persons.
Q. What problems can mumps cause?
A. People who show symptoms usually recover after a week or two but mumps can occasionally cause serious complications. The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles in males. Other rare complications include: inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord; inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts in females; deafness.
Q. Where can I get more information about the mumps vaccine?
A. Visit the CDC website here