CofC confirms Mumps outbreak on campus

ByPatrick Phillips|September 23, 2019 at 1:10 PM EDT - Updated September 23 at 1:10 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Three people on the campus of the College of Charleston have tested positive for the mumps virus, the school confirmed Monday.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control labeled the situation as an outbreak, according to CofC spokesman Ron Menchaca.

“Since the first case was confirmed on Sept. 17, College health officials and student affairs staff have been working around the clock to provide support to all affected individuals in each of these cases, including notifying classmates, roommates, friends, colleagues and others who may have come into contact with the individuals who tested positive,” he said in a release.

The college is also working with DHEC and MUSC to stop the spread of the virus on campus.

The three people who tested positive have been isolated and college health officials have been verifying student immunization records to identify and contact those who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus.

CofC will conduct a vaccination clinic on campus this week to provide high-risk individuals with access to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

In South Carolina, state regulations allow for colleges and universities to set their own policies for immunization requirements. The College has an established pre-matriculation immunization policy that is consistent with the recommendations of the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Students can be granted an immunization waiver based on medical or religious reasons. But in the event of certain communicable disease emergencies, these exempted individuals can be excluded from campus activities in order to protect the health and welfare of the campus community.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that may result in parotitis, which causes swelling in the cheek and jaw area below the ear. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms and often do not know they have the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks. Mumps can occasionally cause complications including deafness, inflammation of the testicles, brain, tissue covering the brain, ovaries, and breasts. Mumps is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat.

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