INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Butler University officials sent an email Saturday to students warning of three mumps cases. This comes just days after IU officials announced that two students there had the disease.
The director of the Marion County Health Department, Dr. Virginia Caine, is concerned that more cases could come. Mumps is highly contagious and is spread commonly through coughing or sneezing. Once exposed, on average it takes 16 to 18 days to start experiencing symptoms.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you what mumps is,” said Riley McCall, who was at Butler Saturday visiting her boyfriend.
It’s a disease that we haven’t had to think about for decades. Butler officials said the cases were confirmed Friday.
“To be honest, I really didn’t know much about it until I got the email. But it explained what I need to look for,” said Butler student Matt Loberg.
Mumps causes flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen salivary glands, which causes the cheeks to swell. It’s not common, but it often affects college kids.
“So when you have dormitories, where you have a lot of young adults that may be in close proximity, you seem to be at a little bit of a higher risk related to this,” said Dr. Caine.
A vaccine was developed in 1967, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. But, even after being vaccinated, people can still contract the disease. In fact, Dr. Caine says all three Butler students had their recommended double dose.
“Although it’s a very effective vaccine; if you’ve had at least one of those doses, it’s effective at about 80 percent of protecting individuals. And if you’re able to get both vaccines, the efficacy or effectiveness is about 88 percent,” she said.
“It’s concerning, but hopefully it’ll pass. It shouldn’t be here long,” said Loberg.
Dr. Caine says most colleges now require a mumps vaccine before students enroll. She urges people to see a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms. Butler will open its Health Services on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. to assist people who may be experiencing symptoms.