FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has identified multiple confirmed mump cases on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, according to Meg Mirivel with the ADH.
Three confirmed cases and one suspected case of the mumps have been confirmed in the last few weeks.
The ADH is encouraging students, faculty and staff to make sure they are up to date on their Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccination and to seek additional care if they experience symptoms.
Students at the University of Arkansas said they hope everyone will get the MMR vaccination.
"Why wouldn’t you get vaccinated?" One UA student said. "You are putting not only yourself in danger, but you are putting your classmates in danger.”
Another student said it is important to keep the campus a safe and healthy place to live.
"You need to take precaution and be mindful of your peers because we are a little community here and we want to keep everyone safe," another student said.
From August 2016 to August 2017, Arkansas experienced the second-largest mumps outbreak in the United States in the last 30 years, according to the ADH. Nearly 3,000 mumps cases were identified during that period.
The ADH is working with the UA Fayetteville campus to alert students and staff who may have come in contact with the confirmed cases. The ADH is asking anyone who came in close contact with one of the confirmed cases, as well as anyone with an MMR vaccine exemption on campus, to seek vaccination.
MMR vaccines are available at the Washington County Local Health Unit, the ADH says. The vaccine is also available at several doctors' offices or local pharmacies. Vaccines are also available at the Pat Walker Health Center on the UA campus.
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. Symptoms include painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw, the ADH says.
Mumps is usually a less severe disease in children, but adults may have more serious symptoms with complications.
The ADH claims the MMR vaccine is safe and effective.
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 can be reached at 479-521-8181 and is located at 3270 Wimberly Drive, Fayetteville, AR 72703. The Pat Walker Health Center can be reached at 479-575-4451. Hours and location information can be found at health.uark.edu/.
Other local health unit location and contact information can be found on the ADH website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units.