Mumps poses risk to students, faculty and staff, authorities say
Instances of mumps in five Midwestern states this past winter, and a recent outbreak at a college in Illinois, pose a risk this coming year to U-M students, says Dr. Robert Winfield, the University Health Service director and the University's newly selected chief health officer.
To reduce this risk, UMHS officials are recommending that all students should come to campus with two mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccinations. In addition, Winfield notes that if there is a local outbreak of mumps, faculty and staff may need to be fully vaccinated or have proof of either prior infection or immunity to mumps.
The recommendations are based on those made in May by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in conjunction with the American College Health Association. The committee was responding to a situation that dates to December 2005, when a mumps outbreak began in Iowa, involving multiple college campuses.
Winfield noted that infection occurred in both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals and spread to five surrounding states. He believes that the mumps outbreaks during 2006, including one at Wheaton (Ill.) College this month, are similar to an outbreak of 80,000 cases in England last year that CDC officials say may signal the evolution of a more virulent strain of the disease.
"We've long known that mumps vaccinations aren't perfect," Winfield says, pointing out that receiving two vaccinations confers 90 percent protection against mumps, while one vaccination only offers 70 percent protection.
"If you have full immunization, you will reduce the risk of becoming ill and will reduce the possibility of complications, such as deafness, sterility and severe illness."
UHS has sent e-mails and other communications to graduate and undergraduate students to let them know that the University has immunization clinics, UHS has a supply of vaccine and vaccinations are covered by M-CARE.
Winfield says while the vaccination recommendation should be taken seriously, "There's no cause for alarm."
For more information go to uhs.umich.edu/services/mmr.html.
• Three days before to about nine days after symptoms
Onset of symptoms
• Twelve-25 days after exposure Common symptoms
• Fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and swelling of the salivary glands, which causes the cheeks to swell
• Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts
• Painful inflammation and swelling of the testicles in 1 in 4 adolescent and adult men, which usually goes away but may cause sterility
• Miscarriage in pregnant women.
• College students and others should be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella
• If you were born after 1956, two doses of a combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) are recommended
• Most people born in or before 1956 were infected with measles, mumps and rubella in childhood and are presumed to be immune
• People born in the 1970s are less likely to have received two doses.
• If you are concerned about your immunity, blood tests can be ordered to provide proof of immunity
• Side effects of the vaccine usually are mild and include rash, slight fever, mild swelling of salivary glands, aching or swelling joints (more common in adults). If you become ill within four weeks following an immunization, contact your health care provider
• MMR vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, although it is not known to cause illness. Women who are planning pregnancy should wait three months after immunization before getting pregnant
• When you are ill (e.g. have a fever or don't feel well)
• If you have systemic allergic reactions (such as trouble breathing) to eggs, chicken protein or the antibiotic neomycin
• Have cancer, leukemia, lymphoma or HIV/AIDS
• Have received gamma globulin (immune globulin) in the past three months