LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard has confirmed a total of 16 student cases of the mumps virus, all 16 cases are confirmed to have had the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines.
The new total means 4 new cases have emerged since Feb. 12, when only 12 cases were reported. According to Ballard, the latest group all live off campus.
A student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has also been diagnosed with mumps, the University and the state Office of Public Health confirmed Monday.
BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) – The mumps is hard to detect. It mimics flu-like symptoms and the common cold. That’s why doctors say it’s easy to spread.
“There’s a period of time where you’re infectious before you get the swelling of the glands,” Nelson Perret, LSU medical director, says.
The students that have the virus currently may not have known they had it until the swelling started. It’s during the early, undetectable stages of the infection that they likely spread it around, causing the outbreak. And now doctors are saying the virus cases might stick around for a while.
But what does that mean for the rest of the city? Dr. Michelle Flechas, a pediatrician with Our Lady of the Lake, says it’s possible for the virus to reach people who aren’t LSU students. Especially since most of the cases were college kids who didn’t live on campus.
“That student at LSU may have a sibling that goes to high school here and middle school here and if that child, LSU student gets sick they may go home and have their parents take care of them,” Flechas says.
The students that have the virus have been quarantined and monitored by LSU and the Department of Health. Flechas and Perret say that as long as you don’t go near people with the virus and practice good hygiene, it’s less likely for you to get sick.