4 MU students diagnosed with mumps, 5 more cases suspected

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COLUMBIA – Four MU students have been diagnosed with mumps and five more are under suspicion of having the disease. All diagnosed students live off campus.

”We advise them to stay at home, don’t go to class and take care of themselves,” said Susan Even, executive director of the Student Health Center.

Even encourages people suspecting they have the mumps to immediately call their health care provider, as the disease is highly contagious.

”Students should be careful with hygiene, don’t share food with others, cover their mouth when they sneeze and wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer,” she said.

The typical symptom of mumps is swollen glands. Typical flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle pain, and general tiredness are also associated with mumps.

Mumps can be prevented with an MMR vaccine, which all students are required to obtain. However, even people who have been vaccinated are not necessarily safe from getting mumps.

”The immunization for mumps is not perfect, like many of our immunizations. It doesn’t always prevent it, but it can decrease the risk of getting mumps a lot,” said Dr. Michael Cooperstock, medical director of University of Missouri Health Care’s Infection Control Department.

There is currently no cure for mumps and, according to Cooperstock, the best possible thing to do is to stay at home, drink lots of fluids and wait it out.

In the summer of 2015, about 20 cases of mumps were diagnosed in Columbia.