Dear Campus Community,
I am writing to alert the campus about the recent diagnosis of mumps in several students at two colleges in the Lehigh Valley. Mumps is a contagious viral illness that spreads rapidly among individuals living in close quarters such as college dormitories. Symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches followed by swelling of the salivary glands. The illness is usually self-limited, but complications can occur. For more information about mumps, see http://www.cdc.gov/mumps/about/index.html
If you think you have the mumps or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with mumps, please contact the Health Center. MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination is the most effective way to prevent mumps. Although the vaccine is one of the required vaccines at Lafayette College, many college students that have been vaccinated have contracted the illness because immunity wanes over time.
Mumps cases are on the rise in the United States and more than half of the outbreaks occur in college settings. To address this public health problem, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviewed the available evidence and determined that a third dose of MMR is safe and effective at preventing mumps. ACIP recently recommended a third dose of the vaccine for persons previously immunized with 2 doses who are at increased risk of acquiring mumps because of an outbreak. The vaccine is available at the Health Center.
Although we have not had any confirmed cases at Lafayette, please remain vigilant. Students diagnosed with a serious contagious virus such as mumps should remain isolated from the community for a period of time.
Jeffrey Goldstein, M.D. FACEP
Director of Health Services