Health department investigating mumps cases at UA

While the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Ellis County Health Department have identified one confirmed case of mumps in Ellis County and are working to find out how the resident might have contracted the disease, the case did not involve a Hays USD 489 student.

Anyone with a confirmed mumps infection, individuals awaiting test results, or close contacts of anyone with mumps who has not been previously vaccinated, should remain isolated for a recommended period of time as directed by health care professionals. The virus is mostly spread by coughing, sneezing or other contact with saliva from someone who is infected.

"In light of these confirmed mumps cases, and with spring break fast approaching, it is very important for PSU students to avoid sharing food and drinks with others and to monitor their overall health", said Secretary of Health Karen Murphy.

"The risk of mumps can be significantly reduced with two MMR vaccines".

In Alberta, officials said there were four confirmed cases of mumps among students at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, which typically sees zero to two cases each year. It is as contagious as flu and those infected usually are contagious before symptoms appear and for a few days after, so they can spread the virus without realizing it, according to the announcement.

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"During this investigation, (the health department) recommends that UA students, faculty and staff not vaccinated with two doses of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR), immediately receive a second MMR at Student Health Center, their doctor, or health department", the health department said in the announcement.

Mumps is a serious contagious disease passed through saliva and respiratory secretions.

"Mumps can be spread easily", said Dr. Chris Sikora, medical officer of health with AHS. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms; recommendations include bed rest, a soft diet and a pain reliever for body aches. "We are notifying the campus community about mumps, prevention tips, and vaccinations".

If you think you have been exposed to mumps, contact your healthcare provider for advice.

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