A number of college campuses across the country are experiencing mumps outbreaks. As of January 10, 2020, thirty-seven (37) mumps cases have been associated with the outbreak at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus. The latest outbreak update can be found here.
Anyone experiencing mumps symptoms (the first of which is usually swelling cheeks) should isolate themselves at home or in their dorms for five days after initial symptoms appear. All students are encouraged to practice preventative measures like avoiding sharing drinks, washing their hands often, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick.
The Arkansas Department of Health is continuing to investigate the outbreak and identify how and where mumps is being transmitted while working closely with the university to make recommendations to prevent the spread of mumps.
For more information on the mumps, click here.
Third Dose of MMR Recommendation
Two MMR doses are 88 percent effective at preventing the mumps. This means that 12 percent of people who receive the recommended two doses may still develop the mumps if exposed. University students are particularly susceptible to the mumps during an outbreak, especially if they are in frequent contact with other students in dorms, sports teams, or activity groups. So far, nearly all of the involved cases have received two doses of the MMR vaccine.
Someone who is determined to be at high risk for developing the mumps may be asked to receive a third dose of the MMR vaccine. Unless you receive notification that you are considered to be at high risk, a third dose is not recommended at this time. If you have been exposed to the mumps, a third dose of MMR will not keep you from developing symptoms; however, it will help stop further spread of the disease among your close contacts. If you are vaccinated and still develop mumps, your symptoms are expected to be less severe. There is also less of a risk of developing serious complications from the mumps, like deafness, meningitis, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), orchitis (swelling of the testicles), and oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries). Vaccines are available at many doctors’ offices and pharmacies.