The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has identified three confirmed cases and one suspected case of mumps on the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville campus in the last few weeks.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to make sure they are up to date on their Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccination and to seek care if they experience symptoms.
ADH is working closely with the UA Fayetteville campus to alert students and staff who may have been in close contact with the confirmed cases. These close contacts, as well as anyone with an MMR vaccine exemption on campus, are encouraged to seek vaccination. MMR vaccines are available at the Washington County Local Health Unit, and are also available at many doctors’ offices or local pharmacies. Vaccines are also available to the UA Fayetteville community at the Pat Walker Health Center on campus.
From August 2016 to August 2017, Arkansas experienced the second-largest mumps outbreak in the United States in the last 30 years. Nearly 3,000 mumps cases related to the outbreak during that period were identified.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. It is best known for painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Boys may also have painful, swollen testicles. In some of these cases, fertility can be affected. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. There is no treatment, and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks. Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious disease with complications. Complications can include deafness and encephalitis. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain.
The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are 88 percent effective in preventing mumps. It is a live virus vaccine and is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with a weakened immune system. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to receive the MMR vaccine.
The current CDC recommendations for MMR vaccination are as follows:
• For children younger than 6 years of age, one dose of MMR vaccine at age 12-15 months, followed by a second dose of MMR vaccine at age 4-6 years.
• For children age 7 through 18 years not previously vaccinated, one dose of MMR vaccine or MMRV (Mumps, Measles, Rubella, and Varicella) vaccine, followed by a second dose of either MMR vaccine or MMRV vaccine at least 4 weeks after the first dose.
• In outbreak situations, a third dose of the MMR vaccine may be safely recommended in certain settings where transmission has occurred, such as schools.
• For adults born in 1957 or later and not previously vaccinated, one dose of MMR vaccine.
• A second dose of MMR vaccine is recommended for adults born in 1957 or later, who are students in a post-secondary educational institution, work in a health care facility, or plan to travel internationally. The second dose should be administered a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.
The Washington County Local Health Unit is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., can be reached at 479-521-8181 and is located at 3270 Wimberly Drive, Fayetteville, AR 72703. Other local health unit location and contact information can be found on the ADH website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units.
The Pat Walker Health Center can be reached at 479-575-4451. Hours and location information can be found at health.uark.edu/.