Spread of mumps at university
As many as 35 students at a Kent university campus
have gone down with suspected mumps, it's been revealed.
The Health Protection Agency
confirmed the first cases appeared at the University of Kent's
Canterbury campus two weeks ago.
Symptoms of mumps include painful
swellings at the side of the face, headaches, joint pain and a high
The disease is spread in the same way
as colds and flu inside infected droplets of saliva that can be
inhaled or picked up from surfaces and passed into the mouth or
Sheena Fenn, senior specialist nurse manager at Kent Health
Protection Unit, said: "Mumps is moderately infectious. If someone
is coughing and spluttering, droplets can easily land on someone
else and then if they touch their nose or face, it can spread
All the students have undergone saliva tests to confirm if they
definitely have the disease and the results are expected to come
A person is most contagious one to two
days before the onset of symptoms, and for four days afterwards.
This time is when it is most important to try to prevent spreading
the infection to others, especially teenagers and young adults who
have not been vaccinated.
Ms Fenn, pictured left, said: "If
you've had two doses of the MMR vaccine that's fine but if you
haven't then you should try and get vaccinated straight away. If
you're already infected, it won't stop you from getting the disease
but you won't get it in such a severe form."
There are concerns the latest
outbreak might in part be down to parents stopping their
children from having the jab in the late 1990s. It was
after a report in 1998 suggested there might be a link between the
vaccine and autism.
Letters and an information leaflet
have now been sent to the campus and the
vaccine will be available at the University medical
Have you been affected? Do you
know a student with mumps? Join the debate below.
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