In early March, there was an outbreak of mumps in Plattsburgh, N.Y., approximately 50 miles away from the Paul Smith's College campus. Our student population is now on spring break, and while we've so far seen neither any suspected nor confirmed cases of mumps, it is possible that the virus may be imported to our campus when students return on Monday, March 22.
When they do return, we will be vigilant for the most common signs and symptoms of mumps:
Nearly our entire population of 950 students is vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). But while vaccination makes it less likely to contract mumps, it does not make it impossible, as outbreaks have been seen even among the fully vaccinated.
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)
If a member of the community shows signs and symptoms consistent with the mumps, testing will be done and the individual will be isolated for the five days suggested by the New York State Department of Health, even if that person has received an MMR vaccination.
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items such as cups or soft drink cans can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others when those items are shared. In addition, the virus may spread when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands, and someone else then touches the same surface and rubs their eyes, mouth, nose, etc.
The infectious period of mumps is from 2 days before onset of symptoms to 5 days after symptoms appear. The incubation period for mumps from exposure to onset of illness ranges from 12-25 days. To avoid transmission:
Those who are considered at highest risk are the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
- Minimize close contact with other people, especially babies and people with weakened immune systems who cannot be vaccinated.
- Stay home from work or school for five days after your glands begin to swell, and try not to have close contact with other people who live in your house.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wash hands well and often with soap, and teach children to wash their hands too.
- Don't share drinks or eating utensils.
- Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes.
We will be working closely with the local health department should any cases be suspect on the Paul Smith's campus. Rest assured, your Paul Smith's student is our priority. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Student Health Services at (518) 327-6319.
For additional information on mumps outbreak control measures, clinical presentation and diagnostic tests please refer to the CDC website at:
For any additional questions, please call your local health department at: (518) 891-4471or the NYSDOH Bureau of Immunization at: (518) 473-4437.