How to protect yourself against mumps

mumps infographicAs you may have heard or read, several cases of mumps have been reported among University of Florida students. The UF Student Health Care Center is partnering with the Alachua County Health Department and the UF Division of Student Affairs to monitor the situation and to share information regarding the virus and best practices for protecting yourself against it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mumps as a contagious disease caused by a virus that typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Most people also experience swelling of their salivary glands, which can cause puffy cheeks and a tender swollen jaw.

According to the CDC: “Outbreaks have most commonly occurred among groups of people who have prolonged, close contact, such as sharing water bottles or cups, kissing, practicing sports together or living in close quarters with a person who has mumps. Some vaccinated people may still get mumps if they are exposed to the virus. However, disease symptoms are milder in vaccinated people.”

Due to contagiousness, people with mumps should avoid contact with other people until five days after their salivary glands begin to swell. Please do not go to work, school or any social events, and try to limit contact with those in your household as much as (or if) possible.

Although the usual incubation period is 16 to 18 days, it could take up to 25 days after being exposed for the symptoms to begin. A person may be contagious up to two days before they have symptoms of being sick. The number of cases reported at UF currently stands at 18, which is more than the one or two normally seen on campus each year. However, 30 cases have been reported statewide so far this year, and concentrations like the one occurring at UF are not uncommon. In addition, all 18 cases at UF are in patients who have received the Measles Mumps Rubella, or MMR, vaccine.

Learn more about mumps from Dr. Ronald Berry, interim director of the Student Health Care Center.