Health Department Responds to Case of Mumps at Middlebury College

For Immediate Release: Sept. 17, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is working with Middlebury College after a single case of mumps was confirmed in a student who was exposed to the disease while traveling abroad before returning for the start of the fall semester.

The Health Department issued an advisory to health care providers statewide on Wednesday to alert them to the possibility of secondary cases.

The Middlebury student is the first confirmed case of mumps in Vermont since 2004.

Middlebury College health officials have reported that a large majority of Middlebury students have the recommended two doses of vaccine.  The one student with mumps sought care and was isolated soon after arriving on campus.  The student has fully recovered and is no longer considered infectious. No further cases have been identified at this time.

College health officials are in the process of identifying a small number of students, faculty and staff who may have had direct contact with the student in dorms or classroom settings.  Those students’ records will be reviewed and their immunization status will be verified.  Those students will also be contacted to inform them of the potential for exposure and if further immunization is necessary. Faculty and staff with potential direct contact will also be notified and instructed to contact their health care provider.

“We are working with Middlebury College officials to encourage mumps vaccination of all unvaccinated or under-vaccinated students, faculty and staff,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “Mumps is contagious, and it is possible for people who had contact with the student to contract mumps.”

Mumps is a viral infection that can be spread through close person-to-person contact such as coughing, sneezing or sharing drinking glasses. Symptoms of mumps usually resolve without complications; however, mumps can cause serious complications, including hearing loss, meningitis, miscarriage and sterility in men. People who are concerned that they may have mumps should contact their health care provider.

A safe and effective vaccine against mumps has been available since 1967 as part of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Almost all children in Vermont routinely receive two doses of mumps-containing vaccine prior to school entry. However, because the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, 5 percent of people who are vaccinated remain susceptible to contracting the disease.

For more information on mumps visit: healthvermont.gov.

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