University of Texas officials confirmed Friday the presence of mumps on campus after seven people were diagnosed the week of July 9.
University Health Services sent an email informing members of the campus community of the outbreak, adding that resources and information are available to them through the department’s Healthyhorns website. University officials warned some individual students about possible exposures on Wednesday.
Mumps, though rarely fatal, is a highly infectious, once-common disease that can cause swelling in the saliva-producing glands below the ears. The virus is spread by droplets, usually when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. People also can catch mumps from using items contaminated by an infected person, such as a cup or phone, or by coming into contact with a surface containing virus droplets.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands or glands under the ears on one or both sides. If someone experience these symptoms, whether or not they have had one or both doses of mumps vaccine, university officials urge them to seek medical care.
To avoid exposing others to the illness, students should call University Health Services at 512-471-4955 or the 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877 before coming into the health services clinics, the email said.
No cure exists for mumps. Symptoms can only be treated with bed rest, fluids and fever reduction. Complications such as hearing loss, infertility or inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and spine are rare, but can happen, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Texas has already seen more mumps cases this year than during any year since 1992, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, which first warned of the spike in cases in April. At the time, doctors had diagnosed 236 cases, mostly in the Fort Worth area, health services officials had said.
State health officials suspect many of the Texas cases are related to an outbreak that has reportedly infected more than 3,000 Arkansas residents.
UT reported one case of mumps last year; a 2015 mumps outbreak in Austin infected at least eight UT students.
U.S. vaccination programs that began targeting mumps in 1967 have made the illness rare. For more than 40 years, children have been given the MMR vaccine, which targets measles and rubella as well. Find guidance on mumps vaccinations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/mumps/vaccination.html.