Cases of mumps confirmed at Elon

UPDATED MONDAY, OCTOBER 14: Read this message sent to the Elon community about a recent case of the mumps confirmed at Elon.

Below are the text of messages sent to the Elon campus community regarding the recent confirmation of cases of mumps. 


Message from Monday, October 14, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am pleased to report that there have been no new confirmed cases of mumps at Elon since my email update last Monday, so our number of confirmed cases remains at six.

Given the incubation period of the virus, it is still possible that we could see additional suspected or confirmed cases, so we continue to ask students, faculty, and staff to remain attentive to the recommendations we’ve provided.

Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services by phone during regular operating hours or online at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments/.

The health department continues to recommend that students, faculty, or staff who have not received a third dose of the MMR vaccine consider doing so. Options for receiving the vaccine include:

Vaccination at Student Health Services, offered to students, faculty, and staff at no cost.  The health department is administering vaccinations by appointment Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings through the month of October.  Call Student Health Services at 336-278-7230 to schedule an appointment.

Vaccination at the Alamance County Health Department, located on the first floor of the Alamance County Human Services Center, 319 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd., Burlington, NC 27217.  Call the health department at 336-570-6459 to schedule an appointment.

Vaccination at a pharmacy of your choice, either in the area or while you are home for Fall Break. Students, faculty, and staff can drop by the front desk at Student Health Services to pick up a written prescription to present to the pharmacy. You should also take your insurance card with you to the pharmacy; there may be out-of-pocket costs.

Vaccination through your primary care physician.

Between the open clinics held on campus and vaccinations given at Student Health Services, 876  individuals have received  an additional dose of MMR vaccine, which further reduces the risk of contracting mumps and is recommended by health officials in a situation such as this.

Responses to some of the frequently asked questions about mumps can be found below.  If you have additional questions, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200.

Students with medical questions should contact Student Health Services at 336-278-7230. Faculty and staff with medical questions should contact their primary care provider or the Faculty & Staff Wellness Clinic at 336-278-5569.

We will send the next community update Monday afternoon, October 21.


Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life
jdooley4@elon.edu


Message from Monday, October 7, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In the time since our last email update on Wednesday, October 2, three additional cases have tested positive for mumps, bringing our total number of confirmed cases to six. However, there have been no other additional suspected cases during that time.

We continue to work with the local health department on vaccinations and identifying and assessing possible new cases.  Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services online at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments/ or by phone during regular operating hours.

Throughout the month of October the health department will work with the university to offer MMR vaccinations to Elon students, faculty, and staff at Student Health Services by appointment. Vaccination appointments can be made by calling 336-278-7230 during operational hours. Between the open clinics held on campus and vaccinations given at Student Health Services, nearly 800 individuals have received  an additional dose of MMR vaccine, which further reduces the risk of contracting mumps and is recommended by health officials in a situation like the one we are experiencing.

Responses to some of the frequently asked questions can be found below.  If you have additional questions, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200.

Students with medical questions should contact Student Health Services at 336-278-7230. Faculty and staff with medical questions should contact their primary care provider or the Faculty & Staff Wellness Clinic at 336-278-5569.

We will send the next community update Monday afternoon, October 14.


Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life
jdooley4@elon.edu


Message from Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In the time since our last update on Monday, two additional cases have tested positive, bringing our total number of confirmed cases of mumps to three. We continue to work with the local health department to identify and assess individuals who are showing possible symptoms of mumps.

We will shift our community-wide updates about this situation to a weekly email – expect the update messages from me on Monday afternoons.

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination

Nearly all students at Elon have had two doses of the combination vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), which remains the most effective prevention for mumps infection. However, they do not guarantee full immunity – a person with two doses of MMR vaccine has about an 88% reduction in risk for mumps.  A third additional dose of the MMR vaccine does further reduce the risk and is recommended by health officials in a situation like the one we are experiencing.

The health department conducted two MMR vaccination clinics on campus within the past week, serving a total of 749 individuals.  Beginning Thursday, October 3, the health department will work with the university to offer MMR vaccinations to students at the Ellington Health Center by appointment throughout the month of October. Appointments to receive the MMR vaccine can be made by calling 336-278-7230 during operational hours, (Mo-Th, 8:30am-6pm; Fr. 8:30am-4:00pm, Sa-Su, 9am-1pm).

If you are exhibiting symptoms consistent with the mumps, you should schedule a regular appointment with Student Health Services, either online or by phone.

Keep in mind, an additional dose of MMR vaccine will not prevent individuals from getting mumps if they have already been exposed, but will better protect them in the future.

Preventing spread of the mumps virus
It is important to remember that mumps is a virus, transmitted very similarly to the flu or other diseases spread by droplets in the air. Advice for helping control the spread of viruses is found in the original email below and on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website: https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/infection_control.html

The recommendations for reducing the spread of mumps is similar to the steps we take to avoid the flu.  You can help prevent these viruses from spreading by:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoiding sharing objects that might have saliva on them, like water bottles or cups.  Do not share drinks, cigarettes, or other nicotine devices.
  • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, tables, counters.

We encourage you to regularly use the hand sanitizer stations in place at every building. Environmental Services staff normally uses disinfectant in their regular cleaning and this time of year.  They have already begun their routine of increasing the application of disinfectant on common contact surfaces and are being particularly vigilant about this part of their cleaning.

Who to contact with questions
Responses to some of the frequently asked questions can be found below.  If you have additional questions, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200.

Students with medical questions should contact Student Health Services at 336-278-7230.   Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services online at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments/ or by phone during regular operating hours.

Faculty and staff with medical questions should contact their primary care provider or the Faculty & Staff Wellness Clinic at 336-278-5569.

Your health and well-being are a top priority for us, so please let us know how we can assist.


Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life


Message from Monday, Sept. 30, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We continue to have only one confirmed case of mumps on campus.  The four suspected cases last week have all initially tested negative, but continue to be considered “probable cases” per local and state public health guidelines. Over the weekend there were two additional suspected cases identified and referred to the health department for initial confirmatory testing, but those initial results are not yet available.

As we informed you last Friday, the health department will be working with the university to host an additional MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination clinic tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1, on campus at South Gym.  From 12:30-2:00 p.m. vaccines will be available for those students, faculty, and staff who receive a notification from the Office of the Dean of Students, in accordance with health department protocols. From 2:00-5:00 p.m., while supplies last, the clinic will be open to any Elon student, faculty, or staff member.

Keep in mind, an additional dose of MMR vaccine will not prevent individuals from getting mumps if they have already been exposed, but will better protect them in the future.

Beginning Thursday, October 3, the health department will work with the university to offer MMR vaccinations to students at the Ellington Health Center, by appointment, through the month of October.   Students can make appointments by calling 336-278-7230 during operational hours or online at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments.

It is important to remember that mumps is a virus, transmitted very similarly to the flu or other diseases spread by droplets in the air. Advice for helping control the spread of viruses is found in the original email below and on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website: https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/infection_control.html

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200.  Students with medical questions should contact Student Health Services at 336-278-7230.   Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services online at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments/ or by phone during regular operating hours.

Faculty and staff with medical questions should contact their primary care provider or the Faculty & Staff Wellness Clinic at 336-278-5569.


Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life


Message from Friday, Sept. 27, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We continue to have only one confirmed case of mumps on campus. The initial testing of the two suspected cases was negative. However, consistent with local and state guidance, these two cases will remain probable cases due to individuals displaying symptoms consistent with mumps.

Yesterday we also became aware of two additional suspected cases. These cases have not been confirmed and have been referred to the health department for initial confirmatory testing.

Yesterday the health department administered 476 doses of MMR vaccine to students, faculty, and staff who met the state notification protocol regarding potential contact with cases that were confirmed or suspected at that time.

The health department will be working with the university to host an additional MMR vaccination clinic next Tuesday, October 1.  From 12:30-2:00 p.m. vaccines will be available for those students, faculty, and staff who receive a notification from the Office of the Dean of Students, in accordance with health department protocols. From 2:00-5:00 p.m., while supplies last, the clinic will be open to any Elon student, faculty, or staff member.

Keep in mind, an additional dose of MMR vaccine will not prevent individuals from getting mumps if they have already been exposed, but will better protect them in the future.

Beginning Thursday, October 4, the health department will work with the university to offer MMR vaccinations to students at the Ellington Health Center, by appointment, through the month of October.  Students will receive additional information about this program via email next week.

The advice and information from health department officials found below continues to be accurate. We know that this is Family Weekend and we will also be welcoming many visitors to campus for Fall Convocation and the Elon-JMU football game.  There is no need to alter standard operations or events.

It is important to remember that mumps is a virus, transmitted very similarly to the flu or other diseases spread by droplets in the air. Advice for helping control the spread of viruses is found in the original email below and on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website: https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/infection_control.html

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200.  Students with medical questions should contact Student Health Services at 336-278-7230.   Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services online at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments/ or by phone during regular operating hours.

Faculty and staff with medical questions should contact their primary care provider or the Faculty & Staff Wellness Clinic at 336-278-5569.

We do not plan to send an additional update email until next Monday afternoon, unless the situation should change significantly over the weekend.


Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life


Message from Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019

Subject: Wednesday update re: Community Notification – Confirmed Case of Mumps

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am writing to update you regarding yesterday’s email about the confirmed case of mumps. The university and local health department have contacted 814 students and 52 faculty and staff who had been in direct contact with the affected student and/or their roommates (classmates, organization members, etc.), inviting them to a vaccine clinic tomorrow to receive an additional dose of the MMR vaccine. As noted in the original email, copied below, the additional dose will not prevent individuals from getting mumps if they have already been exposed, but will better protect them in the future.

Today, we became aware of an undergraduate student and a graduate faculty member with symptoms consistent with mumps. This information was promptly shared with local health department officials. Although there is not a confirmed diagnosis for either of these cases, out of an abundance of caution the university and local health department will be reaching out to additional students, faculty and staff who may have been in contact with these individuals to invite them to also participate in tomorrow’s vaccine clinic.

The advice and information from health department officials found below continues to be accurate. There is no need to alter standard operations or events.

Should you have additional questions, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200. Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services. Appointments can be made by calling 336-278-7230 during operational hours or online any time at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments.

We will continue to keep you informed with additional information if necessary.

Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life


Message from Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019

Subject: Community Notification – Confirmed Case of Mumps

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In collaboration with the regional Cone Health network, the Alamance County Health Department, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Elon University has confirmed a single case of mumps in an undergraduate student. Student Health Services identified the case and promptly notified the local health department. At this time, we are not aware of any additional unconfirmed or suspected cases at the university.

Mumps diagnoses have occurred recently on several other college campuses and Elon is working with the local and state health departments to follow well-established protocols to care for this student and to prevent additional cases. At this time, the health department has determined the student is no longer contagious.

MMR vaccines are the most effective prevention for mumps infection. However, they do not guarantee full immunity – a person with two doses of MMR vaccine has about an 88% reduction in risk for mumps. 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.

Mumps can be serious, but most people with mumps recover completely within two weeks. While infected with mumps, many people feel tired and achy, have a fever, and swollen salivary glands on the side of the face. Others may feel extremely ill and be unable to eat because of jaw pain, and a few will develop serious complications.

Additional health information and responses to frequently asked questions can be found below.

Out of an abundance of caution, the university will be working with the local and state health departments to reach out to the individuals who are known to have been in direct contact with the affected student (classmates, roommates, etc.) and invite them to receive a third MMR dose at a vaccine clinic later this week. The third dose will not prevent individuals from getting mumps if they have already been exposed, but will better protect them in the future.

The local and state health departments have advised that there is no need to alter standard operations or events. In order to prevent the spread of mumps and in general many illnesses:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoiding sharing objects that might have saliva on them, like water bottles or cups.
  • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters.

In addition to the information provided below, should you have additional questions, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200. Students who are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mumps should make an appointment with Student Health Services. Appointments can be made by calling 336-278-7230 during operational hours or online any time at https://www.elon.edu/u/health-wellness/health-services/appointments/.

The health and well-being of the Elon community remains a top priority. The university will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional information as necessary.

Dr. Jon Dooley
Vice President for Student Life

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is mumps and what are the symptoms?

Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then most people will have swelling of their salivary glands. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.

How is mumps spread?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or talking; sharing items that may have saliva on them, such as water bottles or cups; participating in close-contact activities with others, such as playing sports, dancing, or kissing; or touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

When is someone contagious?

An infected person can likely spread mumps from a few days before their salivary glands begin to swell to up to five days after the swelling begins. A person with mumps should limit their contact with others during this time.

How is mumps treated?

Management for mumps is similar to the flu. There is no treatment, only symptomatic relief. Take Motrin or Tylenol for fever and swelling, drink fluids and get plenty of rest. One of the most important steps you can take if you experience symptoms is to self-isolate, avoid travel and limit contact with others for five days from the onset of symptoms. For healthy people, there is very little risk of serious complications from the mumps.

 

How can I verify my immunization status?

In addition to checking with your family or primary care physician, students can verify their immunization records on file with the university via the PhoenixHealth patient portal.

Is it safe to visit Elon for Family Weekend or admissions tours?

Yes, it is safe to visit campus. Mumps is spread through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets. Casual contact, such as visiting campus, offers minimal risk.

Can Residence Life help with a room change to prevent close contact with a symptomatic person?

Yes, students in residence halls who are concerned about contracting mumps from a symptomatic roommate or suitemate are encouraged to contact Residence Life at 336-278-7300 about a temporary room change.

What if I have been exposed to someone?

The university remains in close contact with the Alamance County Health Department, to identify and communicate with anyone who may have been in close contact with the affected student. If you have questions, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 336-278-7200 or Student Health Services at 336-278-7230.