More mumps cases on campus: What you need to know

The number of mumps cases identified in UW-Madison students has increased to five. UHS is working with public health officials to monitor the situation.

Mumps is a contagious viral illness that spreads by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. While most people who have been given the mumps vaccine are usually protected for life against mumps infections, mumps can occur in previously immunized persons.

For common questions and answers about mumps, check out “What college students need to know about mumps.

UHS is encouraging all students to take the following steps to stay healthy and prevent spreading the illness.

  1. Check your immunization records. First things first, check your immunization records to make sure you’ve had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
    If not, students can get vaccinated at no cost at UHS. Call 608-265-5600 or use MyUHS to make an appointment. Faculty and staff should visit their private health care provider or pharmacy.

  3. Take a page from the flu playbook with preventive actions. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water; sneeze and cough into a tissue or your elbow; and avoid sharing drinks, food and utensils.

  5. Watch for symptoms even if you have been vaccinated. Contact UHS if you experience them. Early symptoms usually begin 16 to 18 days after infection and are similar to those of the flu: fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Swelling of the cheek and jaw area (salivary glands) usually follows and is a classic symptom of mumps. Students who experience symptoms should call UHS at 608-265-5600 or use MyUHS to make an appointment. Faculty and staff should contact their private health care provider.

  7. Stay home if you are sick. Anyone suspected of having mumps is expected to stay home from school, work, or similar activities for five days. This means don’t attend class or labs, go to work, or socialize with others during this five-day period and don’t use public transportation. Mouth and nose should be covered during any sneezing or coughing and hands should be washed frequently. There is no treatment for mumps, but you can soothe your symptoms by getting plenty of bed rest, taking over-the-counter pain killers such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol to relieve any pain, and drinking plenty of fluids.

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