Syracuse UniversityHealth Services

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Mumps and Vaccinations

How many cases of mumps are there at Syracuse University?
As of Nov. 20, there are:

  • Confirmed Cases: 44
  • Probable Cases: 81

What is a confirmed case?  What is a probable case?
According to the Onondaga County Health Department, in monitoring and analyzing the outbreak, public health investigators designate each symptomatic case as either a confirmed case (a proven case) or a probable case (very likely case). At the end of each case investigation, these classifications (confirmed or probable) are final and are reported to New York State Department of Health. 

A confirmed case has evidence of the presence of the mumps virus (through lab testing) along with any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Acute parotitis or other salivary gland swelling (lasting at least 2 days), aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, hearing loss, orchitis, oophoritis, or mastitis.

A probable case has acute parotitis or other salivary gland swelling (lasting at least 2 days) OR unexplained orchitis or oophoritis in a person with:

  • A positive anti-mumps immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody OR
  • Epidemiologic linkage to another probable or confirmed case in the SU campus community (in this current outbreak).

You say you have 44 confirmed cases, does that mean 44 students currently have mumps?
The number represents the total number of confirmed cases since the end of August. Confirmed cases are cases with proven mumps infection. These individuals are contagious for 2 days before to 5 days after the appearance of swollen salivary glands (parotitis), so a number of these students are now no longer contagious and have already made a full recovery.

What is mumps?
According to the New York State Department of Health, mumps is a disease caused by a virus. You can catch mumps through the air from an infected person's cough or sneeze. You can also get it by direct contact with an infected surface. The virus usually makes you feel sick and causes a salivary gland between your jaw and ear to swell. Other body tissues can become infected too.

I’ve been vaccinated; can I still get mumps?
YES! Although vaccination is your best protection, it’s not 100 percent effective. In fact, every Syracuse student who has contracted mumps has been properly vaccinated.

How can I get mumps?
According to the Onondaga County Health Department, you can get infected with mumps through the air from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. You can also get it by direct contact with a contaminated surface.

How long is a person with mumps contagious?
According to the Onondaga County Health Department, a person with mumps can pass it to others from 2-3 days before the swelling starts until five days after the swelling begins.

How long does it take to show signs of mumps after being exposed?
This can range from 12–25 days after infection.

How can I help prevent the spread of mumps?

  • Don’t share drinks or eating utensils.
  • Cover your mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Refrain from kissing and other intimate activity.
  • Don’t share cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Do not play drinking games.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like sinks, doorknobs and tables.
  • At the first sign of symptoms, visit a doctor.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides

I’m feeling under the weather; what should I do?
See a doctor immediately! The quicker you get treated, the less likely your fellow community members will get mumps.

Is Syracuse University offering MMR boosters?
Yes. The University is offering students a third MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) booster free of charge by appointment at Health Services. To schedule an appointment, call 315.443.9005.

I (my child) had inquired about getting a third MMR, but Health Services said the County did not recommend it. Why the sudden change?
Until recently, the Onondaga County Health Department did not recommend a third MMR. That’s because we had not met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria making a third shot appropriate. That is until now. We've just learned that as the number of confirmed cases inches up, we now meet the following criteria:

  • High two-dose vaccination coverage (all of SU’s students have been fully vaccinated);
  • Intense exposure settings likely to facilitate transmission (e.g., schools, colleges, shared living facilities); and
  • High attack rate and evidence of ongoing transmission for at least 2 weeks.

Is there a treatment for the mumps?
First off, mumps in not considered to be alone life threatening. While there is no treatment for mumps, supportive treatments, such as bed rest, fluids and over-the-counter medication that reduces fever or discomfort, can help manage the symptoms.

I have a medical/religious waiver and am currently excluded from campus. When can I return?
According to state and county guidelines, students excluded from campus cannot return to campus until 26 days after the most recent case is confirmed. As of Monday, Nov. 20, students cannot return until Dec. 12.  

I work at SU. Is getting a third MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) booster appropriate for me?
We recommend you contact your Primary Care Physician to discuss whether a third MMR is appropriate for you.

I am enrolled in the Syracuse University employee medical plan administered by POMCO (changing to Excellus BCBS on Jan. 1, 2018). If my doctor recommends that I receive the third MMR booster, will the cost be covered under the plan?
MMR vaccines received at in-network providers are covered at $0 copay; age restrictions apply. If an out-of-network provider is used, the patient would be responsible for the deductible, coinsurance and/or copay that applies. Note: coverage is not available for the MMR vaccine at pharmacies.  Please visit your doctor and present your POMCO ID card for coverage (or Excellus BCBS card after Jan. 1, 2018).

Is the University going to shut down because of the outbreak?
No, while the Center for Disease Control considers three confirmed cases an outbreak, mumps is an easily containable disease. Good health practices and getting a vaccine can significantly limit your exposure and the spreading of mumps. There is no reason to leave campus and no reason to be alarmed. The University is taking aggressive action to educate the campus community about prevention and treatment. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Health Services.

I plan to visit Syracuse University in the coming days/weeks, should I not travel to campus?
If you are concerned about traveling to campus, you should consult your family’s primary care physician. Additionally, unvaccinated visitors should absolutely consult their doctor as they are considered to be at greater risk to exposure. 

Download a poster with more helpful information on preventing the spread of mumps.

Read our latest update to the campus community here.