Mumps: Eight Cases At UAlbany

May 1, 2017

The University at Albany is dealing with eight confirmed cases of mumps among the student body.

Cases of mumps, primarily affecting college students, have been on the rise nationally: CNN reports that as of December 31, 2016 there were more than 5,300 cases of mumps in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Rebecca Kobos is Medical Director of UAlbany's on-campus Student Health Services.   "What we do know is that mumps is vaccine-preventable illness and the recommendations are two MMR's, measles mumps rubella immunizations, but even with two, the efficacy of the vaccine, the protective factor, is only 88 percent.  And so, nothing is 100 percent in medicine and science so that does leave a percentage that even with the recommended immunizations could develop disease."

Last week UAlbany and the Albany County Department of Health held a clinic that provided free vaccinations for more than 100 students.

Elizabeth Lewis is the epidemiologist at the Albany County Department of Health.   "We're absolutely seeing in the outbreaks that are occurring in these university settings that they have a high vaccination coverage rate."

For anyone who missed the clinic, UAlbany has been providing students with free MMR vaccinations at Student Health Services. The CDC says most mumps patients have received their two recommended doses of the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.   "If you do not have two doses of vaccine we absolutely recommend that you get a second dose."

CDC has been keeping tabs on college campuses that have had recent outbreaks to assess the effectiveness of re-inoculating individuals a third time. Kobos says UAlbany is not considering offering third phase inoculations at this time.   "We want to educate everyone about mumps and the signs and symptoms, so if people do develop symptoms they reach out to their health care provide. If they're a student we're here for them at student health. We would encourage anyone with symptoms to reach out. The biggest symptoms for mumps: low grade fever, headaches, body aches, loss of appetite and most significant for mumps is the swelling tenderness over the salivary glands, particularly the glands near the jaw and in front of the ear."

There have been outbreaks in the past year on other SUNY campuses including one at New Paltz. UAlbany is working closely with the Albany County Department of Health to reduce the chances of the disease spreading further.

According to UAlbany's website, New York State Public Health Law requires college students to demonstrate proof of immunity to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). The law applies to students who are registered for 6 or more credits.

Mumps Prevention Tips:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you sneeze or cough
  • Do not share drinks, food, utensils, or any personal items that come in contact with saliva

Find a fact sheet from New York State Department of Health here. 

If you are a UAlbany student and have symptoms consistent with mumps, contact Student Health Services at 518-442-5454 or contact your health care provider. In addition, please notify Student Health Services as soon as possible. If you are a member of our faculty staff and have symptoms consistent with mumps, you are encouraged to contact your health care provider.

If you have additional questions, please contact Student Health Services at 518-442-5454 or the Albany County Department of Health at 518-447-4640.