FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A total of 26 cases of mumps has been confirmed at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville this fall. The majority of the students infected had the up to date vaccinations.
Twenty-five out of the 26 infected had the recommended two doses of MMR shots. The last case hasn’t been confirmed.
Regardless, the Arkansas Department of Health said getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick.
The first three cases of the mumps were reported in September. There were another three in October and 20 cases in November leading to an outbreak.
The university, working with the department of health, identified about 400 students as under-vaccinated. Those students were directed to get the required two doses of the MMR shot or miss class.
Since the mumps outreach about 180 under-vaccinated students updated their status. Physician Specialist, with the Arkansas Department of Health, Dr. Joel Tumlison said getting the shots gives you an 88-percent chance of not contracting the virus. “Being fully vaccinated for it, for the mumps with the MMR vaccines, although it doesn’t protect 100% from getting the mumps, it does greatly reduce the complications from the mumps and reduces rates of hospitalization of serious infection with the mumps.”
Those serious conditions include deafness, swelling of the brain, and swelling of the testicles or ovaries, in very rare cases it can be deadly. Tumlison said the MMR shot also protects you from other viral infections like Measles and Rubella.
Although the university continues to receive reports of suspected cases of the mumps, it’s hoping the efforts will lead to a decrease in numbers.