A half-dozen San Diego State University students were diagnosed with confirmed or probable mumps in the last week, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.
The six students live off-campus at BLVD63, a large apartment complex at 6345 El Cajon Blvd. that is not affiliated with the university, according to the HHSA.
“These six mumps cases represent a small outbreak of this highly contagious viral disease,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “The best way to prevent mumps is by getting the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine.”
The HHSA scheduled vaccination clinics at the apartment building from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. BLVD63 residents and SDSU students will be offered free vaccines on a first-come, first-served basis.
Two doses of the MMR vaccine are routinely recommended — one at 12 to 15 months of age and another at 4 to 6 years of age. According to the HHSA, it is recommended that all SDSU students complete the two-dose series if they have not already done so, and a third dose is being recommended to anyone who lives or works at BLVD63.
“Student Health Services was able to quickly respond to this public health concern and worked to isolate these students, as well as provide initial information to our campus community,” said Libby Skiles, SDSU’s student health director. “In collaboration with the county, our team is supporting the impacted students and working to proactively protect the overall health and wellbeing of our community.”
In addition to the student cases at BLVD63, there have been four other mumps cases in San Diego County so far this year. Last year, 66 mumps cases were recorded in the county, compared to nine in 2018 and 15 in 2017. Last year’s total was the highest in 25 years, county officials said.
HHSA officials also noted that a notable number of mumps cases — 138 – – were reported in Baja California in the first six weeks of this year, though it’s not known whether the SDSU cases have any connection to the cases in Mexico. In 2019, that Mexican state had 900 cases, the most since 2001.
Mumps is spread by coughing, sneezing or coming into close contact with an infected person. The virus can cause fever, headache, earache and the characteristic inflammation of the salivary glands resulting in swelling and tenderness of the jaw.
Severe complications are rare, but can include meningitis, decreased fertility, permanent hearing loss and fetal loss during the first trimester of pregnancy. There is no treatment for mumps, though most cases resolve without complications.
Anyone believing they have mumps should contact their health provider before seeking medical care so proper precautions can be taken to avoid spreading the virus.
For more information about mumps, other vaccine-preventable diseases and the vaccines that protect against them, contact the County HHSA Immunization Program at 866-358-2966 or visit the website at www.sdiz.org.
— City News Service
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