Mumps on a New Hampshire University Campus

October 25, 2016

Key Points and Recommendations:

  • Healthcare providers should be aware that in the last couple of months there have been three, apparently unlinked, cases of mumps on the University of New Hampshire Durham campus.

  • Mumps is an acute viral infection typically characterized by swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands, typically the parotid gland (parotitis). Patients can also develop non-specific prodromal symptoms of fever, headache, myalgia, and malaise.

  • Providers should notify the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS) of any patient presenting with signs and symptoms consistent with mumps.

  • Healthcare providers can contact NH DPHS with any testing requests for mumps, which would involve submission of a buccal swab for mumps PCR, and blood for mumps serology (IgM/IgG). NH DPHS can be contacted at 603-271-4496 (after hours, 603-271-5300).

Situation:

The NH DPHS has identified three confirmed cases of mumps virus infection on the University of New Hampshire Durham campus over the last 2 months. These cases are not directly linked and have involved students and visitors to the university campus. Despite high vaccination rates in college students, mumps outbreaks can, and have, occurred on college campuses around the country.

Providers should be vigilant and ask patients presenting with parotitis or other symptoms consistent with mumps about contact with individuals from the affected university community.

Background Information:

Mumps is a virus which causes an acute infection typically characterized by swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands, typically the parotid gland (parotitis). Patients can also develop non-specific prodromal symptoms of fever, headache, myalgia, and malaise. Most individuals only have mild symptoms and recover completely in a few weeks. Individuals, however, can rarely develop meningitis/encephalitis, orchitis, and deafness.

Mumps is transmitted by respiratory droplet spread or by direct contact with an individual’s respiratory secretions. Individuals are considered most infectious from 2 days prior to symptom onset until 5 days after. The MMR vaccine is considered 88% effective after a 2-dose series, but it is still possible for vaccinated individuals to develop mumps.

The incubation period for mumps after exposure can range from 12-25 days.

Any patient diagnosed with confirmed or probable mumps may need to be isolated for 5 days after onset of parotitis and excluded from school, work, or public settings.

Any susceptible contacts to a case that are not considered immune may also need to be excluded from school, work, or public settings from days 12 through 25 after their exposure if non-immunized and susceptible individuals are present, or until they receive a dose of the MMR vaccine.

For more information about mumps and control of mumps in healthcare and school settings, please review the CDC website.

For any questions regarding the contents of this message, please contact NH DHHS, DPHS, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496 (after hours, 603-271-5300).

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