BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) – When LSU sent out a message confirming five cases of the mumps virus had shown up on campus, LSU student, Irene Martigil knew she had to make a phone call.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about. This morning I called my mom to see if I’d had all the vaccinations,” Martigil says.
Fortunately for Martigil, Dr. Franklin Welch, the Medical Director for Community Preparedness in Louisiana, hasn’t found any evidence that the outbreak is linked to the school, or one particular place.
“We’re having mumps outbreaks on college campuses all over the place. We think over Christmas break, some kids met up with their friends and it’s possible these cases aren’t related,” Welch says.
The highly contagious virus is extremely rare in the u.S. Because most people like Martigil got vaccinated when they were children. But Welch says people who’ve been vaccinated should still be cautious.
“One out of ten people with the vaccine can still get the virus. There are several reasons for that,” Welch says.
If you’re vaccine wasn’t effective when you got it or if your body rejected it, you can still catch the mumps. If you have swelling near your face and feel cold-like symptoms it’s a good idea to see a doctor. The best way to avoid it is to make sure you’ve been vaccinated twice, cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands.
Measures to help prevent viral transmission:
- Good hand washing
- Not drinking or eating after others
- Covering one’s nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
Receiving two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine in one’s lifetime is the best way to prevent mumps. Proof of immunity to mumps or proof of two doses of MMR vaccine is currently required for all students at LSU. Most students on campus should be protected. However, the vaccine is not 100% effective, and mumps infection may occur even in fully vaccinated students.
It is recommended that any LSU student/faculty/staff who has not received two doses of MMR get the vaccine as soon as possible. In addition, if you have come into direct contact with someone currently diagnosed with mumps, it is recommended that you receive a third MMR vaccine.
The LSU Student Health Center will be providing the MMR vaccine to students free of charge at the Student Health Center. The Student Health Center Injection Clinic is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 3:30 p.m., and Friday from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. You can also obtain the vaccine at your primary care provider’s office.