Students: you may be at risk of mumps

All students are advised to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mumps. The Health Protection Agency, which protects the community against infectious diseases, has been informed of a rising level of mumps among university and college students in Bristol and the surrounding areas.

What is mumps?

Mumps is an acute viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph glands and usually painful swollen glands, below the jaw line.

How is it spread?

It is spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes and can also be transmitted through direct contact with saliva, including kissing. The mumps virus is present in saliva for several days before the swelling appears until several days afterwards and sufferers should stay away from other people at risk of mumps until five days after the swelling appears. Simple hygiene measures can help prevent spread.

How serious is it?

You could be ill enough to miss two weeks of lectures, studying, taking exams and socialising!

What are the signs and symptoms?

The illness generally begins with a headache and fever for a day or two before the disease is characterised by swelling of the parotid glands, on one or both sides. The parotid gland is located in front of the ears and runs parallel to the jaw-bone. You may have the infection for 14-21 days before any symptoms show and mumps is transmissible in this period to several days after swelling appears.

How can it be treated?

There is no specific treatment for mumps, so for most people it will clear up by itself. However, medical advice from your GP should always be sought. A person suspected to have mumps can have a simple salivary test to enable laboratory confirmation of the illness.

How can you be protected?

Here's the good news - mumps can be easily prevented by vaccination, as it's one of the components of the MMR vaccine and there is no upper age limit to the MMR vaccine. 

If you're not sure about what vaccination you've had, it's a good idea to check with your GP. They will be able to tell you if you're protected or not.

If not, MMR vaccination is easy to arrange and FREE.

For more information contact the Avon Health Protection Team on 0117 900 2620.

Bookmark with:

What is this?