HARRISONBURG, Va. — James Madison University has announced that there are several confirmed cases of the mumps on campus and several suspected cases, pending confirmation.
“Students who have been positively diagnosed or who are suspected of having the virus have been referred to the Virginia Department of Health and are being directed to self-isolate for five days after the onset of swollen salivary glands,” said the university in a press release.
Mumps is an acute viral infection transmitted person-to-person through direct contact with respiratory droplets spread by coughing and sneezing or contact with surfaces contaminated by those droplets. It is also spread through direct contact with saliva, such as by kissing or sharing drinks or lip balm.
Individuals infected with mumps develop symptoms 12 to 25 days after exposure. Symptoms of mumps include body aches, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, or headache, followed by tenderness and swelling in the jaw and/or cheek area. Men may develop testicular swelling. The majority of mumps infections are mild and individuals recover within a few days to a week; complications are uncommon, but can be severe.
Best practices for mumps prevention include:
- Wash hands well and often with soap;
- Don’t share eating utensils or beverage containers;
- Surfaces that are frequently touched (doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) should also be regularly cleaned with soap and water or with cleaning wipes;
- Limit your contact with people who have known mumps symptoms.
JMU’s announcement comes three weeks after the university postponed two men’s basketball games due to a possible mumps outbreak.
Students who believe they may have the mumps are asked to contact the University Health Center at 540-568-6178 or www.jmu.edu/healthcenter. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician if they experience symptoms similar to the mumps.
For more information regarding mumps, please visit the CDC website.