As you may be aware, there have been some confirmed cases of mumps at two SUNY campuses (the official health advisory issued by the New York State Department of Health can be downloaded here).

As college students return home for winter break, be on the lookout for the following symptoms: swelling of the salivary glands, discomfort, headache, myalgia (muscle pain), fever, loss of appetite and jaw pain.  People have also reported sore throat, earache and upper respiratory symptoms prior to the onset of parotitis (which is an inflammation of glands on the side of the face).  Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease.

What can you do?

The single best way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated.  Doctors recommend that children receive two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.  Most children receive the mumps vaccine at a young age, however due to the contagious nature of the virus, we wanted to make you aware of the outbreak so you can take appropriate precautions if necessary.

State law requires that parents/guardians vaccinate their children against serious diseases including measles, mumps, polio, whooping cough and others (some students may be legally exempted for medical reasons or because the child’s parents hold religious beliefs which are contrary to vaccination practices).

People with mumps should take care to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, frequently wash their hands with soap and water, and avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.  Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks.

At this time there are NO suspected or confirmed cases in the Berlin Central School District but we are asking parents/guardians to ensure that their children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.  Please take this opportunity to review your child’s immunization records with your family physician or licensed health care provider.

More information about mumps is available online through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.