We would like to provide information regarding cases of mumps reported at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. Please note that there have been no cases of mumps reported on either of Rider’s Lawrenceville or Princeton (Westminster Choir College) campuses.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), there have been eight cases of mumps identified among students attending Stevens Institute of Technology this spring. The students, ranging in age from 18 to 21, were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of a mumps containing vaccine. Stevens encourages anyone who may have recently visited its campus or who had close contact with a student or staff member to contact their doctor if they are exhibiting symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.
We will keep our campus communities updated as additional information becomes available and provide the following facts for your information.
What are the symptoms of mumps?
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw on one or both side of the face
How is mumps spread?
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared. In addition, the virus may spread when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and someone else then touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose. Most mumps transmission likely occurs before the salivary glands begin to swell and within the 5 days after the swelling begins.
What should I first do if I am experiencing mumps like symptoms?
In order to minimize potential transmission on campus, commuter students are encouraged to contact their personal healthcare provider.
Resident students should contact Student Health Services as follows:
- Monday–Friday, 8:30–4:30 p.m.: Contact Student Health Services first by phone at 609-896-5060 (both campuses) before coming in to be seen.
- Weeknights and weekends: Contact Public Safety at 609-896-5029. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, Public Safety will notify the local ambulance squad or appropriate Student Affairs staff. If symptoms are not severe, we will encourage you to go home.
Isn’t there a vaccine for the mumps?
Yes. In fact, students must have one dose of a mumps containing vaccine and two doses of the measles vaccine to attend college. Since mumps vaccine is usually combined in the U.S. with measles and rubella vaccines (MMR), most U.S. college students have received two doses of a mumps containing vaccine. People who receive two doses are much less likely to develop mumps than those who have one dose or none.
Can people who have been vaccinated still get mumps?
Studies suggest that mumps vaccine is 80% to 90% effective. Though mumps vaccination cannot protect everyone, it greatly lowers the number of people who get sick when exposed to the virus. And while vaccination cannot protect everyone from developing mumps, people who get mumps following vaccination are at a lower risk of problems.
What can I do to reduce the risk of getting the mumps?
We encourage all members of our campus communities to continue the preventive practices recommended by public health officials, such as those listed below, to help prevent the spread of germs that cause the mumps as well as respiratory illnesses like the flu, which has made a springtime resurgence in New Jersey.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and dispose of the tissue immediately in the trash. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. You should wash your hands before eating.
- Avoid sharing utensils, water bottles or other items contaminated by saliva or respiratory secretions. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest.
Where do I go for additional information?
We will continue to monitor the situation with the help of public health officials and update you accordingly. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks/outbreak-patient-qa.html. You should also feel free to contact Student Health Services at 609-896-5060 or the Dean of Students office at 609-896-5101.