Mumps Outbreak in Northwest Arkansas

Currently, there are three (3) confirmed cases of mumps involving the University of Arkansas campus community, with more under investigation.  As the entire state of Arkansas is in the midst of a mumps outbreak (currently over 1,900 cases are being investigated), the Pat Walker Health Center urges the campus community to take appropriate measures to protect themselves and others. 

 

Read a letter from the Arkansas Department of Health with information about mumps and how to keep it from spreading. 

 

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus, and is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. There is no treatment for mumps, and it can cause long-term health problems. 

 

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Because it can take 16-18 days for a person to get sick after being infected, make sure to be on the lookout for potential symptoms 

Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw it causes; however other symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

  • Tiredness

  • Loss of appetite (not wanting to eat)

Someone with mumps is considered contagious three (3) days before the fever starts, and five (5) days after the swelling develops. 

While mumps can be serious, most people recover completely within a few weeks. Symptoms generally last for about 7 to 10 days.

 

If you believe you have been exposed to mumps, or experience symptoms, isolate yourself from others and call the health center at 479-575-4451. 

 

How does mumps spread?

Mumps spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by

  • coughing, sneezing, or talking,

  • sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others, and

  • touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

 

How can you protect yourself? 

The best way to protect against mumps is to get the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.  Unvaccinated people are nine times more likely to get mumps than people with the CDC recommended two doses of MMR.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of the MMR vaccine for adults born in 1957 or later.  While the MMR vaccine prevents most cases, some people who receive two doses of MMR can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who is infected. However, they will likely have less severe symptoms than an unvaccinated person.

Everyone is encouraged to make sure they have received the CDC-recommend two doses of the MMR vaccine. A MMR vaccine booster is also available for anyone who has already had the recommended two doses, and wants to take additional steps to protect themselves. 

If you need to receive the MMR vaccine or would like an additional booster vaccine, contact the Allergy, Immunization and Travel Clinic at 479-575-7723. The cost of the MMR vaccine is $100, and can be billed to insurance.

 

Other ways to help prevent the spread of the mumps virus is to:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.

  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.

  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as phones, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.

 

Resources:

Pat Walker Health Center

  • 525 N Garland Ave
  • University of Arkansas
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
  • P 479-575-4451
  • F 479-575-8793

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