Protection against mumps is provided through a combination vaccine (MMR). UK independent expert advice is that two doses of MMR are required to ensure adequate protection — both for the individual and the population generally. However, just one dose of MMR will give you about 90% protection against mumps.
Cases of mumps in universities mainly result because some students missed MMR totally because they were too old when the vaccine was introduced for children — or because only one dose was received. If you are aged between 18 and 25, check with your GP to see if you have had 2 doses of MMM vaccine, and follow your GP’s advice.
Should you be concerned about catching mumps ?
Mumps is an acute viral illness that causes fever, headache and painful swollen glands. It can cause permanent deafness, viral meningitis and encephalitis. Rarely, it causes painful swelling of the testicles in males and of the ovaries in women.
The mumps virus is spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes, by droplet spread and by kissing.
- What can you do?
- Check, with your GP whether you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine.
- Tell your friends to do the same.
What should you do if you have been in close contact with someone who is infected with mumps ?
If you have not received 2 doses of MMR vaccine and have been in close contact with a case of mumps during the period 1 week before to 1 week after their neck glands first began to swell then you may be infected. You should restrict your movements in the following ways for 3 weeks following the last contact.
- Where possible and practical avoid close contact with school age children, in particular secondary school age (who may not have had 2 doses of MMR).
- Where possible and practical avoid close contact with younger women (under 25 years of age) who are known to be in early pregnancy and have not themselves had 2 doses of MMR.
At the first signs of feeling unwell contact your GP.
What should you do if you think you have mumps ?
- Make an appointment with your GP for advive. Remember to inform receptionist, that you think that you may have mumps.
- Avoid communal areas and close contact with other students.
- Arrange to stay in your accommodation or go home until the infectious period has passed ( Your doctor will advise you, but this will be at least 7 days or until the swelling in the parotid glands has subsided). Please note that departments/schools may have specific recommendations with regard to increased periods of absence, following risk assessments made within its area and practices.
- If you are staying in University accommodation let people at home know what is going on and tell the warden that you are unwell. Make arrangements for friends to shop for you.
- Contact your personal tutor and let him/her know what is going on. You can self-certify for 7 days but you will need a certificate from the doctor if your illness exceeds this period or your period of sickness results in you being unable to attend for any examination. Certificates can be obtained from your GP.
- Remember that as a student of Cardiff University you are required to take reasonable care for your own health and that of others and you should, therefore, take every reasonable precaution to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.