An outbreak of the mumps has spread across two of the Fordham University campuses, with the number of infected students rising each day since Monday.
“The University community was notified that there has now been one case of suspected mumps reported at the Lincoln Center campus, and four new cases at Rose Hill,” officials from Fordham reported included in a Thursday statement, adding that it brought the week’s total “number of cases to 13 University wide.”
Combined with the January infection, Fordham’s total cases of mumps now add up to 14 so far this year.
According to the New York Daily News, twelve of the cases arose at Fordham's Bronx campus, while the other occurred at the Manhattan Lincoln Center campus. A university employee claimed that the students attending the Bronx campus who fell ill all shared in common that they lived in dormitories.
Fordham officials stated, “All the students with suspected mumps infections have either returned home or have been isolated from other residents during the infectious phase of the illness,” adding that, “Typically mumps patients are contagious for two days prior to the outbreak of symptoms and five days after.”
Freshman student Johnathan Agostino indicated, “The thing is, just to get into Fordham you need to be vaccinated for mumps. So nobody knows if those kids got a bad vaccine or what,” and insisted, “I just know I’m going straight to the health center if I see any symptoms.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, some symptoms Johnathan might want to look for include: fever, headaches, achey muscles, gland swelling, appetite decrease, and lethargy. However, these can show up 16 to 18 days following actual infection.
Although students must indeed receive the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccine, such doesn’t always guarantee one won’t become infected. Dr. Marguerite Mayers, a pediatric infectious disease expert with Montefiore Children’s Hospital, says that while as much as 90 percent of vaccinated people become immune to the virus, “there’s still a small group of individuals who don’t get any protection to vaccines, and that group represents a population that’s susceptible. So when mumps viruses are brought into the community, it will spread.”
She also described how the vaccine’s lack of effectivity in said cases might be less about personal physiology for some people and more about how long ago they were vaccinated. For some of those vaccinated as children, she explains, “the antivirus may have waned” between then and adulthood.
Dr. Mayers added that mumps are almost never fatal - a fact confirmed in Fordham University’s statement:
"Mumps in college-age men and women usually runs its course without any lasting effects," they explained, going on to add, “Nonetheless, the University is trying to see what connection there might be among the affected students while stepping up the frequency and intensity of cleanings in communal bathrooms."
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