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Mumps virus spreads to colleges in Louisiana

March 23, 2017

Nicholls State University health services discussed proactive, preventative measures for the mumps in lieu of the virus spreading on Louisiana college campuses.

Nicholls took precaution by sending out an email yesterday afternoon to inform students about the virus.

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge recently reported several cases of the mumps and Loyola University in New Orleans had reported two.  About a dozen cases were reported in the state of Louisiana.  Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus.  Common symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.

Adrienne Bolton, director of university health services, discussed simple ways to aid in prevention.

“Practicing good hygiene is important,” Bolton said.  “Some people may not know they are carrying the virus and can pass it through coughing, sneezing and sharing utensils.  Hand washing is very important.”

There have been no reported cases of mumps on Nicholls campus.  However, federal officials said that the virus threatens to spread in the South.  College students are more susceptible to the virus because they live in close and confined quarters.

“Any place where there is a lot of contact with people gives a risk of spreading,” Bolton said.  “When you are in close spaces with the same people every day, that is what helps the virus to spread.  That is why college campuses are so susceptible to it.”

There has been an outbreak of mumps in the Midwest, which has been the largest number of cases to hit the United States in two decades.

Bolton explained that a big sign of the mumps is having a swollen neck and fever.  She encourages anyone who suspects any small sign of the virus to call health services immediately so they can take care of it as soon as possible.

“We want people to get better, not worse,” Bolton said.

Mumps can be prevented with MMR vaccine.   The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at four through six years of age.

It is required to be vaccinated to attend school.  Bolton said that they do not offer the vaccination on campus, but students should be able to receive the vaccination for a low price at most clinics.

CDC Director, Julie Gerberding, highly recommends getting a second dose of the MMR vaccination, especially those who are in the school-aged population or students who are in college.  Gerberding said that the disease has been seen largely among people in their late teens and early 20s.

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