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Mumps erupts at university in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Health announced April 17 that eight cases of mumps had been found in students attending the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. The patients are between the ages of 18 and 21. All of the patients have received two documented doses of mumps vaccine.

Student relaxing in a college dorm
CDC / public domain

The report states that all the mumps patients began to exhibit the characteristic swelling of salivary glands, on April 6. The Stevens Institute states, in an April 17 release, that all students are required to be fully immunized for mumps. Maggie Cunning, Director of the Student Health Services, states that the student were isolated and are no longer infectious. At this time there have been no new reports of illnesses.

Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer stated in a statement on the mumps outbreak “Every precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of the public."

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describe mumps is a contagious viral illness, with no cure. The illness begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. The characteristic swelling, "chipmunk cheeks", follows for most patients.

The CDC states that severe complications from mumps are rare. Adults are at great risk for complications than children. Deafness, encephalitis and very rare deaths are among the risks.

In adults, post-puberty, orchitis occurs in 30 to 40 percent of male patients. The testicular inflammation and swelling may affect one or both testicles. In half of those cases, orchitis may result in temporary or permanent sterility.

In adult females, mastitis, inflammation and swelling of the breasts, may occur in over 30 percent of patients. A mumps infection during the first trimester of pregnancy may result in the loss of the child. There is no evidence that a mother's illness with mumps causes any congenital defects.

The infection of eight patients who have been fully vaccinated against mumps is unusual but not unheard of. The CDC states that in 12 percent of those who receive the two dose course of mumps immunization, immunity to the disease may not be produced. Mumps outbreaks which include illnesses in vaccinated patients often occur in colleges:

A major factor contributing to outbreaks is being in a crowded environment, such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team, or living in a dormitory with a person who has mumps.

Mumps outbreaks are currently taking place on the campuses of Fordham University, Ohio State and the University of Wisconsin campuses in LaCrosse and Madison.

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