AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Texas said it's dealing with a mumps outbreak. University Health Services said seven students have been diagnosed with the viral disease. Even though it's summer and fewer students are on campus, health officials were taking all precautions.
“It was talking about that there's been a few cases of mumps on campus,” Christina Severson talked about the email she received from the University of Texas from the school's health services, warning about the presence of mumps on campus. University of Health Services confirmed seven students were diagnosed with the disease.
Mumps is contagious and spreads by direct contact or through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
UHS said it is contacting all students and staff who may have come into contact with an infected person, whether in a classroom or dorm to let them know they may need to get tested. “I'm not nervous because I know I have gotten all my vaccinations, but I guess it is a big thing especially with school starting in the fall that if people are sick and it's contagious, that's bad,” Severson said.
UHS is asking anyone who may have been exposed and experiencing any of the symptoms to get medical care immediately.
Symptoms of mumps include:
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- swollen and tender salivary glands
UHS said if you think you are experiencing any symptoms to call ahead and warn medical professionals so they can take precautions and not expose other people who may be in the clinic.
This isn't the first case of mumps on the UT campus. Last year, one student was diagnosed and in 2015 there was another outbreak with several cases reported. Tyler Stern is a Junior at UT and remembers the last outbreak, “I saw a few people around campus wearing masks and stuff like that, they were just being really careful,” he said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the mumps vaccine is the best prevention against the disease. But it's the students who are not vaccinated that worry some Longhorns, “I know that there are a lot of people who are immunosuppressed for whatever reason can't get vaccines, so people who like medically can't get there vaccinations I'm worried on their behalf," said Benjamin Gerzik a UT Junior.
UHS said people usually recover after a week or two, but sometimes mumps can cause serious complications, so it's not something to take lightly.