The University of Iowa is asking students to be sure their vaccinations are all up-to-date after six cases of the mumps have been reported among students in the last couple of weeks.
The majority of students will return to campus next week for the state of classes, and university spokesman, Tom More, says they want them to be prepared.
“If they have not had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine, it’s a good idea that they get those two doses before they show up on campus. That’ll maximize their protection,” Moore says. Moore says the mumps are another reason for students to get the vaccinations now instead of waiting. “The students have essentially until the end of the first semester to provide proof of their immunization status,” Moore says. “So, it is something that we do require, but they do have a little bit of a time frame here to do it. But, we recommend that they do it as soon as possible that they are protected.”
Many students returning to campus will be living in dorms with a lot of new people, and lots of daily contact. The mumps virus is spread through contact with saliva or mucous from the mouth, nose, or throat.
“That’s always a concern in close living quarters — is that when you have a contagious disease it can spread from person to person with relatively ease. And so we are trying to do everything we can to help protect the safety, health and well-being of our students,” Moore says.
Mumps cases have been reported on other campuses in the midwest, but Moore hasn’t heard of any in Iowa. “We’ve shared this information with our sister institutions at Iowa State and Northern Iowa, but have not heard any reports that they have seen anything similar,” Moore says. The university says it has also alerted area health care professionals and has provided additional training for resident hall staff and resident assistants in the wake of the six reported cases of mumps. U-I classes start on August 24th.