October 24, 2017 — Syracuse University is offering a free booster shot of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine to fight an ongoing outbreak of mumps.
There are 27 confirmed cases of mumps and 47 probable cases among students at Syracuse University and other members of the campus community, according to Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner.
Dr. Gupta said the first cases of mumps occurred in student athletes at the end of August 2017, specifically the university’s lacrosse team. Now, the outbreak has spread into the general student population.
All of the men’s and women’s lacrosse events this fall were canceled. All organized lacrosse activities were also canceled for 3 weeks beginning on October 6, 2017.
Like many recent mumps outbreaks, all of the people who were diagnosed with mumps were fully vaccinated. Schools generally require 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, with the 1st dose given between the ages of 12-15 months and the 2nd dose given before age 6.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 12 out of 100 people who get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine will still get mumps if they are exposed to the virus.
The most characteristic symptom of a mumps infection is a swollen gland by the jaw. It can also cause fever, muscle aches, puffy cheeks, headache, and tiredness. Mumps is transmitted through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread when an infected person shares cups, phones, eating utensils, or objects.
In addition, the mumps virus can also spread when someone with mumps touches surface without washing their hands and then another person touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose.