September 24, 2019

Health Department and Elon University partnering to address illness

BURLINGTON- Alamance County Health Department received notification on September 23 of a single confirmed case of mumps in a student who attends of Elon University. At this time, the cause of the infection is unknown and no other cases have been identified. The individual had previously received age-appropriate MMR vaccinations.

Health Director Stacie Saunders stated, “We are working with our university and state public health partners to identify those who may have had contact with the confirmed case and will provide assessment and additional vaccine, as needed.”

Mumps is a viral illness best known for causing parotitis, a swelling of the salivary glands below the ears and above the jaw. Other common symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. The virus is spread through close contact, like kissing, drinking after someone else, coughing or sneezing.

Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Elon Student Health Services. Appointments can be made by calling 336-278-7230. Members of the community who are concerned about symptoms are encouraged to contact their primary health care providers or urgent care. Community members may also call the Alamance County Health Department at 336-516-7715 to speak with a public health nurse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend two doses of the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. MMR vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the disease. The recommended two doses of the vaccine provides approximately 88 percent protection against infection. According to the CDC, mumps outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings like college campuses. High vaccination coverage helps limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks. Elon enforces the State of North Carolina requirement that all incoming students provide evidence of two vaccinations against mumps or proof of immunity against mumps. Nearly all students at Elon have had both of their mumps vaccines, which are administered as a combination vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) as part of the childhood recommended vaccines.

Alamance County has not had a confirmed case of mumps in the last 10 years.

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