A note to the Middlebury College community:

A case of the viral illness mumps has been confirmed in a Middlebury College student. While this single case does not represent an outbreak, College health officials are working with the Vermont Department of Health to inform the public and recommend that individuals in the College community confirm that they have been adequately immunized against mumps. Any person not known to be previously immunized should undergo active immunization.

The student was exposed to mumps while traveling abroad prior to returning to campus for the start of the fall semester. The student began having symptoms several days before returning to campus and eventually sought care at the Health Center when the symptoms persisted. As a precaution, the student was placed in isolation at the Health Center in accordance with current CDC guidelines. Lab tests confirming the diagnosis of mumps were received September 15th. The student is no longer considered infectious and has returned to the campus community.

Health Center officials are in the process of identifying a small number of students, faculty and staff who may have had direct contact with the student in dorms or classroom settings prior to the student’s visit to the Health Center. Those students’ records will be reviewed and their immunization status will be verified. Those students will also be contacted to inform them of the potential for exposure and if further immunization is necessary. Faculty and staff with potential direct contact will also be notified and instructed to contact their health care provider.

Mumps is a viral illness which can spread rapidly among susceptible people living in close quarters. While two doses of vaccine are not 100 percent effective in preventing disease, since the introduction of vaccine, mumps cases have declined by 96 percent in the United States.

The incubation period is usually 12 to 25 days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The infectious period is from three days before, until approximately five days after the onset of parotid gland swelling. Prevention of transmission of mumps to others is dependent on early diagnosis, isolation of the infected patient, and immunization of susceptible individuals. While the risk of exposure to most community members is low, College health officials are maintaining a heightened level of surveillance for mumps cases through the first week of October.

Mumps infection is frequently accompanied by nonspecific symptoms consisting of low grade fever, malaise, headache, muscle aches, and decreased appetite. These symptoms are generally, but not always, followed within 48 hours by the development of parotid gland swelling, a classic feature of mumps infection. Occasionally, mumps doesn’t cause obvious salivary gland swelling. Fortunately, a large majority of Middlebury students have the recommended two doses of vaccine, the one student with mumps was not on campus very long before receiving care, and we have not seen other cases at this time. There are no specific therapies for mumps, though symptomatic therapy for parotitis includes analgesics or antipyretics, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In rare cases mumps can lead to inflammation of the testicles, brain, or the lining around the spinal cord and brain.

While immunization after exposure has not been demonstrated to be protective for the exposure, it is recommended by the CDC with the rationale that vaccination may decrease the risk of disease with possible future exposures. Individuals receiving mumps vaccine after a possible exposure should be aware of the symptoms and signs of illness and contact their medical provider should they become sick.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for mumps immunization in adults are:

1. Adults born before 1957 can generally be considered immune to mumps.

2. Adults born during or after 1957 should receive 1 dose of MMR unless they have a medical contraindication, history of mumps based on health care provider diagnosis, or laboratory evidence of immunity.

3. A second dose of MMR is recommended for adults who:

  • are in an age group that is affected during a mumps outbreak;
  • are students in postsecondary educational institutions;
  • work in a health care facility; or
  • plan to travel internationally.

4. For unvaccinated health care workers born before 1957 who do not have other evidence of mumps immunity, consider administering 1 dose on a routine basis and strongly consider administering a second dose during an outbreak.

Most Middlebury College students have been adequately immunized against mumps (2 doses of vaccine occurring after 1 year of age and separated by four weeks). However, if you are a student and are unsure of your mumps immunizations status, you can contact the Health Center at 802-443-2600 and request confirmation. Students needing further immunization against mumps will be able to receive it through the Health Center. Middlebury College faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their local care provider to determine their immunization status.

For more information about mumps, visit:

http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/mumps/mumps.aspx http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/sub_mumps.htm 

- The Staff of the Parton Health Center