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Possible mumps case identified at Haskell Indian Nations University

Article updated at 11:17 a.m. Friday, Oct. 22:

A student at Haskell Indian Nations University is suspected to have mumps, according to a message sent to the university community late Thursday.

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“At this time cases are limited to one student off campus,” according to the message. “As a precaution, some students residing in Winona Hall have been moved to an isolation wing in Roe Cloud. Other incidents of possible exposure are at Coffin Complex.”

“… If the outbreak expands, a vaccine may be recommended more broadly to additional Haskell students who are not currently symptomatic. Routine vaccination is recommended for this population.”

The university is following CDC guidelines and advising students that mumps is best known for puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw — “This is a result of swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, often referred to as parotitis,” according to the message. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Mumps is spread through respiratory droplets or saliva and has an incubation period of 16 to 18 days from exposure to onset of parotitis. The university is encouraging the campus community to use masks at all times.

“An infected person can spread mumps from a few days before their salivary glands begin to swell to up to five days after the swelling begins,” according to the CDC.

Mumps outbreaks are more likely in congregate settings. “In recent U.S. outbreaks, few cases were reported in communities surrounding an affected college or university, most likely due to high two-dose vaccination coverage and limited instances of exposure,” according to the message. “Haskell will consider and test for mumps when evaluating clinically compatible illnesses.”

Mumps is included in the routine measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization given to babies and young children. People who have been vaccinated can still get the disease, but its symptoms are generally milder and complications are less frequent, according to the CDC.

Rare but serious problems are possible with mumps, such as swelling of the brain, testicles, ovaries or breasts. Meningitis — swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord — and temporary or permanent loss of hearing are also possible, according to the CDC. In very rare cases, the disease is deadly.

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