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University student diagnosed with mumps

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A student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has been diagnosed with mumps, the University and the state Office of Public Health confirmed Monday.

UL Lafayette, in cooperation with the Office of Public Health, is monitoring the situation to ensure the health and safety of the University community, and will provide updates as needed.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease. Students should check their immunization records. University students should have two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

UL Lafayette’s Office of Student Health Services will have vaccines available Tuesday, Feb. 18, for students who have either not been vaccinated or who have not received a second round of the MMR vaccine. Appointments are required; call Student Health Services at (337) 482-1328.

You can also receive a mumps vaccination from your private health care provider, most community pharmacies or, if you are uninsured, a parish health unit.

What is mumps?
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from an infected person with mumps.

How does it spread?
Mumps spreads when an infected person:

  • coughs, sneezes or talks;
  • shares items that may have saliva on them, such as water bottles and cups;
  • participates in close-contact activities with others, such as playing sports; or
  • touches objects and surfaces that are then touched by others.

What are the symptoms?
Mumps typically starts with a fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite; most people then develop swelling of their salivary glands, which causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw.

If any of these symptoms develop, even if they are mild, you should contact your health care provider or student health center immediately and stay isolated from others.

What preventive measures should you take?
In addition to being up to date on immunizations, the Louisiana Office of Public Health offers these reminders to avoid the spread of mumps, the flu and other illness that are prevalent this time of year:

  • Stay at home for five days after symptoms begin; avoid school or work settings.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Don’t share eating utensils or food.
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes regularly.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

Contact your health care provider or visit the Louisiana Department of Public Health website for more information.