Officials at the University of Iowa say mumps remains a growing problem on campus.
Lisa James, Iowa’s associate director for clinical outreach, told KCRG-TV mumps numbers this year are the highest they’ve been since 2006, when the Midwest had a large outbreak of the contagious disease.
“In an average year, sometimes you see one or two,” James said. “The numbers are very low. A really random case here or there, but it doesn’t spread.”
In early November, Johnson County reported 116 cases of mumps, the vast majority were believed to be at the U-I. This week, that number grew to 196 cases, 152 of them at Iowa.
The U-I offered free vaccinations back in November and around 4,800 students got a third measles, mumps, and rubella shot at eight clinics spread out across campus. James said the shots don’t seem to have slowed mumps numbers yet. “No one really knows the right number for herd immunity, which can protect a whole community,” James told KCRG. “We certainly have done a good number of students. But, as you know, our student enrollment is over 30,000.”
Mumps is an acute viral illness. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and swelling under the ears. James says it typically puts a person out of commission for about five days. UI students can still get a free vaccination at the Iowa Memorial Union.
Thanks to KCRG-TV.