Two More College Students Confirmed With Having Mumps, 1 ASU Student, 1 CCC&TI Student

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Two more college students have been confirmed as having mumps bringing the total to three, according to the Appalachian District Health Department. The full context of the Friday evening press release is below:

Two cases of mumps were confirmed in Watauga County on April 27 and 28, making a total of three confirmed cases in the county for the year. The two additional cases are in an Appalachian State University student and a Watauga Campus Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) student. All confirmed cases are residents of Watauga County.

The individuals diagnosed with the virus are being treated, per guidelines established by the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control. Both individuals are fully cooperating in following isolation instructions.

At this time, no direct links among the cases have been identified.

Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare), Appalachian State University and (CCC&TI) are monitoring the cases closely, and are working together, in consultation with the North Carolina Division of Public Health Communicable Disease team, to share information and take appropriate action in response to these additional diagnoses.

Officials at both Appalachian State and CCC&TI are reviewing the class rosters of their respective students’ scheduled classes and are working to evaluate and communicate with individuals who may have come into direct contact with the sick students and therefore may be more susceptible to contracting mumps. Additionally, public health officials are working to identify the students’ interactions during the potential infectious period.

Because of the recent increase in nationwide physician-reported mumps cases, AppHealthCare has recommended a heightened awareness of the possible need for mumps testing for patients who present with symptoms consistent with mumps. It is important, however, to remember that symptoms of mumps are similar to symptoms of other illnesses, like cold and flu.

We remain on heightened alert for anyone with signs and symptoms compatible with mumps.

We continue to urge vigilance. Symptoms of mumps are similar to those of other illnesses, like cold and flu. The virus is spread through close contact, like kissing, drinking after someone else, coughing or sneezing. If you are not feeling well, do not engage in social activity, share drinks, towels, clothing or other items with anyone.

Appalachian State University students with symptoms of concern should contact Student Health Services at 828-262-3100. Calls to this number are answered 24/7.

Members of the community who are concerned about symptoms are encouraged to contact their primary care providers, urgent care or Watauga Medical Center.

Those exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below should take precautionary steps to limit contact with others. As the semester ends and many students travel out of the Boone area, re-engage with family members and/or move to new locations, taking additional precautions to limit contact with anyone if you are feeling sick is extremely important.

During the final days of the spring semester, we urge students to balance the stresses of final exams and other end-of-semester pressures with rest and good nutrition.

Additionally, it is critically important for our student, faculty and staff population to be fully vaccinated. Vaccinations are the best defense against an outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend two doses of the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The recommended two doses of the vaccine provide approximately 88 percent protection against infection. A single dose of the vaccine provides approximately 78 percent protection.

Appalachian students can access their immunization records at http://medportal.appstate.edu in three easy steps:

  1. Sign in using your university user name and password.
  2. Select the “immunization” tab.
  3. Select “immunization history.”

This will allow you to view all immunizations that you have submitted to Appalachian and all vaccinations administered by Appalachian’s immunization clinic. You will also have the option to print your records from this screen.

We strongly encourage everyone to review the information below to assist in preventing the spread of mumps.

What causes mumps?

Mumps is caused by a virus.

How does mumps spread?

The mumps virus is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions or saliva or through sharing items like cups or utensils with an infected person. The risk of spreading the virus increases the longer and the closer the contact a person has with someone who has mumps. The average incubation period (from exposure to onset of illness) for mumps is 16 to 18 days, with a range of 12– 25 days. People with mumps are considered most infectious from two days before through five days after the onset of symptoms.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Individuals with mumps usually first feel sick with nonspecific symptoms like headache, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever. The most well-known sign of mumps is parotitis, the swelling of the parotid salivary glands, below the ear. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. There are no medicines to treat mumps, but most people recover completely in a few weeks.

Prevention

Vaccination is the best way to prevent mumps. Two doses of MMR vaccine are approximately 88% effective at preventing the disease; one dose is approximately 78% effective.

MMR vaccine should be administered to persons without evidence of immunity and everyone should be brought up to date with age appropriate vaccination (one or two doses). Although MMR vaccination has not been shown to be effective in preventing mumps in persons already infected, it will prevent infection in those persons who are not yet exposed or infected. Those born before or during 1957 are considered immune based on likely exposure during childhood.

It is important to recognize that mumps can occur in vaccinated people. During mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated communities, the proportion of cases that occur among people who have been vaccinated may be high. This should not be interpreted as meaning that the vaccine is not effective; people who have not been vaccinated against mumps are much more likely to get mumps than those who have been fully vaccinated. Clinicians should ensure that all healthcare personnel in their offices have presumptive evidence of immunity.

AppHealthCare urges community members to check with their primary care physician about their current immunization records, to ensure they have the recommended vaccinations. Immunizations are available through primary care providers and AppHealthCare, Alleghany: 336-372-5641, Ashe: (336) 246-9449 or Watauga: (828) 264-4995.

Appalachian students can access their immunization records at http://medportal.appstate.edu in three easy steps:

  1. Sign in using your university user name and password.
  2. Select the “immunization” tab.
  3. Select “immunization history.”

This will allow students to view all immunizations they have submitted to Appalachian and all vaccinations administered by Appalachian’s immunization clinic. They will also have the option to print their records from this screen.

Additional information is available at:

This communication, as well as the links above will be posted to http://appcares.appstate.edu and http://healthservices.appstate.edu.

We will continue to communicate with you regarding measures to help prevent additional cases of mumps in our community.

Thank you.

Beth Lovette
Health Director
AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department)

Dr. Robert Ellison
Director of Student Health Services
Appalachian State University

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