Health Department investigating mumps outbreak at JMU


HARRISONBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Health Department officials are investigating an apparent mumps outbreak at James Madison University.

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Health Department has confirmed cases in five staff members and 14 students, according to a release.

Results are still pending for three other students.

The health department is also looking into several cases of the mumps in the area that are apparently unrelated to the university.

Students that have been positively diagnosed or are suspected to have the mumps have been directed to isolate themselves for five days after the onset of swollen salivary glands.

Mumps is a mildly contagious viral illness that is spread typically through close interaction with an infectious individual.

JMU sent out an email to students regarding the mumps outbreak:

Mumps Update: March 16, 2018

As classes resume after Spring Break, the University Health Center is continuing to see new cases of mumps. Mumps is a mild to moderate contagious viral illness that is spread by close contact with an infectious individual through coughing, sneezing or contact with saliva of an infected person (sharing drinks, utensils, etc.). Mumps is usually self-limited, with symptoms appearing 12 to 25 days after exposure. Symptoms include body aches, fever and swollen or tender salivary glands.

The vaccine is very effective, but up to 10 percent of people who receive two doses of vaccine still remain susceptible to infection with mumps. If a vaccinated individual gets mumps, it is expected that they will usually have illness that is less severe and symptoms will likely be of shorter duration.

Treatment for mumps involves isolating the infected person for five days from the onset of salivary gland swelling and treating symptoms as needed. If someone with, or suspecting they have, mumps seeks medical attention, they should call their doctor in advance to avoid the waiting room so as not to infect other patients.

Best ways to prevent mumps include:

  • Wash hands well and often with soap;
  • Don’t share eating utensils or beverage containers;
  • Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes;
  • Limit your contact with people who are known to have or are suspected of having mumps.

For students who suspect they might have mumps, please contact the University Health Center at 540-568-6178 or Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician if they experience symptoms similar to mumps. More information can be found here:

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