OSWEGO – The Oswego County Health Department has reported that a SUNY Oswego freshman has contracted the mumps virus.
The student began showing symptoms last Friday and was diagnosed and treated at the college’s Mary Walker Health Center on Monday (Sept. 12).
The student was immediately isolated to prevent the spread of the disease on campus.
Health officials from the county and SUNY Oswego are working with the New York State Department of Health to investigate the case and locate any individuals who had close contact with the student.
“Mumps is a contagious viral illness that can be spread by those infected through coughing, sneezing, talking, and sharing eating utensils or cups,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “Several college campuses across the country have reported mumps outbreaks this year. Most students got their mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine as children. The vaccine may start to lose its power among some of them when they reach college age.”
Mumps is best known for its puffy cheek characteristic, which is caused by the swelling of parotid salivary glands found in the neck, below the ears.
Swelling may occur on one side of the neck or both.
Additional signs and symptoms include fever, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.
Symptoms generally occur 7 to 25 days after infection.
Those infected with mumps are likely to spread the virus before the salivary glands swell and up to five days after the swelling develops.
Oswego County Health Department Director of Patient Services Judy Lester, R.N., said, “It’s important to look for the signs and symptoms of mumps and contact your healthcare provider if you suspect that you might have come in contact with someone with mumps, or if you develop signs and symptoms of illness.”
Vaccination remains the best way to prevent the spread of mumps and other vaccine preventable diseases.
People who are vaccinated usually experience less severe symptoms than those who are never vaccinated.
It is recommended that two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine be provided to children starting between 12 and 15 months of age.
The second dose is usually given as the child prepares to enter school, usually between 4 and 6 years of age.
Students enrolled in post-secondary education are required to show proof of two doses of MMR vaccine.
Immunizations are available every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the county health department’s public health clinic at 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and on the third Tuesday of the month from 9 to 11 a.m. by appointment at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.
Mumps is not very common in the United States, yet hundreds of cases are still reported every year.
Doctors treated just over 200 cases in 2012 and more than a thousand in 2015.
The last case of mumps reported in Oswego County was in 2011.
For more information on mumps or other vaccine preventable illnesses, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or visit www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/mumps/fact_sheet.htm