Case of Mumps Confirmed on Campus

Tania MacWilliam

Dec. 1, 2011

*PDF of original article here.

A case of mumps has been confirmed at Trafalgar Campus.

Students may have been exposed since Nov. 8, according to a warning notice issued by Halton Public Health.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that can be spread through coughing, sneezing, sharing food or drink and kissing, according to the health department mumps fact sheet.

Symptoms may not become apparent until two to three weeks after exposure. These include painful, swollen glands on one or both sides of your face, pain with chewing or swallowing, earache and fever, according to an internal Sheridan e-mail to faculty and staff.

Though people generally recover completely after about 10 days of symptoms, mumps can lead to complications such as pneumonia, meningitis and temporary deafness.

“Mumps virus can also cause painful swelling of the testicles in teenage boys or young men, and swelling of the ovaries in women and girls,” said Kathy Jovanovic, supervisor of communicable disease control services for Halton Region.

Jovanovic says two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine are necessary to be completely protected from contracting mumps.

“Normally they are both childhood vaccines,” she said. “One is given just after the first birthday and the second at 18 months, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.”

Those who are unsure of their immunization status are encouraged to check with their doctor or contact their public health office.

“If they’re not up-to-date, it makes them vulnerable if they’re exposed to the virus,” she said.

While there is only one confirmed case, it is more effective to inform the entire campus, than just those in the individual’s program, according to Jovanovic.

“Students and staff may have been exposed in other settings on the college campus,” she said. “It’s important that we keep the notification as broad as possible.”

Part of the role of public health is to alert people that they may have been exposed to an infectious disease, said Jennifer Cowie-Bonne, a professor in the Exercise Health and Science Promotion program at Davis Campus where she teaches a health communications class.

“Err on the side of caution and let people know,” she said. “Because if there is one case, chances are there’s maybe another one brewing.”


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