University to offer measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot to contain mumps outbreak

UPDATE (10/24): At the recommendation of Onondaga County, Syracuse University will offer MMR shots to students, staff and faculty on Thursday (10/26) and Friday (10/27).

Syracuse University's Office of Health Services announced via email today that at the county's urging, it will begin offering a third measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot in booster clinics to contain the mumps outbreak on campus. On Thursday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Oct. 27, students, faculty and staff can register to get the shot between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

There are approximately 50 suspected and confirmed cases of the mumps at the university thus far. 

Precautions being taken to keep students healthy include isolating those infected and excluding all of the 17 Syracuse University students that have not submitted medical records from campus as of Monday, Oct. 2. This exclusion is in accordance with New York State Law. The campus is also placing infected students in quarantine. This includes shutting down each infected student's SUID card in order to deter them from going to campus.

There was another outbreak this past spring among students. Outbreaks are often reported at universities. This year, New York is one of only five states with more than 300 reported cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps has become increasingly less common as the vaccine is given more often. The number of cases per year varies from a few hundred to several thousand in America. Last year, 6,366 cases of the mumps were reported to the CDC and this year, the United States is over 4,000 cases reported already. 

The Office of Health Services expects both students with the virus to make a full recovery within a few weeks. They are keeping in touch with the students and with the Onondaga County Health Department to monitor the situation. 

To avoid catching the mumps, the Office of Health Services recommends making sure you are up-to-date on your vaccinations. People that have already been vaccinated can still catch the virus, though, so take precautions. These include not sharing drinks with others, avoiding "intimate contact" and kissing, washing your hands frequently and using disinfectant to clean your common spaces. 

If you do catch the virus, you will likely have a fever, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of appetite and swollen and/or tender salivary glands under your ears. If you notice any of these symptoms, make your way to a doctor as soon as you can. 

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