The Louisiana Department of Health recently confirmed cases of the mumps at Louisiana State University. The mumps is a contagious disease usually characterized by swollen and tender salivary glands near the ears and under the jaw or flu-like symptoms. It is spread through saliva and infectious coughs. The disease tends to be seen in teens and young adults, so awareness and prevention on college campuses has been a priority.
The LSU Student Health Center advised students experiencing symptoms to visit the Health Center or schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. After exhibiting symptoms, the affected person should be isolated for at least five days. While there is no specific treatment for the disease, most people do fully recover. Those found to have mumps are usually contagious from three days before the onset of symptoms until about nine days after.
However, this isn’t just happening in Louisiana. As of March 4, the CDC had received reports of 1,242 cases of mumps. “This is the largest outbreak of mumps that we have seen in this country in more than 20 years,” according to the CDC. Though concerns over the outbreak are growing, there are simple ways you can protect yourself and your family.
The LSU Health Center listed precautionary steps to take to be careful and avoid contracting the disease. Practice good handwashing habits, avoiding eating or drinking after others, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Receiving the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps long-term, according to the Student Health Center. One of the best ways to work toward prevention is to make sure you have both doses of the vaccine. However, the vaccine is not 100% effective and does not always guarantee you will not get the disease, so be sure you and your family are following appropriate precautions.
Parents of younger children should check with your pediatrician to ensure your child has received both doses of the vaccine. Also, be sure to follow the CDC and LSU Health Center’s advice on prevention techniques.