In the state of Missouri, mumps has been an issue for more than a dozen college campuses since the start of fall 2016.
“If somebody is infected with mumps and they cough or put their hand to their mouth and touch a surface, that is how mumps is spread,” Public Information Officer for the Kansas City Health Department Denesha Snell said. “Being in close quarters with somebody who is infected is how mumps is spread from person to person.”
Health officials say college students are more likely to contract the contagious infection because of close living quarters such as residence halls.
“Being in a college atmosphere, you're literally rubbing shoulders with your best friend, or somebody you don't know in class,” UMKC student Andrew French said. “Being self-aware and practicing good hygiene, personal hygiene is really important.”
334 confirmed cases were reported at Mizzou since the start of this academic year. On Wednesday, UMKC reported one case.
“You definitely want to be very careful when you live in close quarters with someone,” Snell said. “Individuals who have mumps, normally, they start off feeling sick. Stuff like a low-grade fever, loss of appetite, but the most common is the swelling of the glands.”
One way to prevent mumps is through the MMR vaccine, an immunization requirement for Missouri school children.
“MMR is the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination. You get that vaccine normally as a child between 12 to 15 months of age,” Snell said. “If they have not been vaccinated, get the vaccine. That is your best chance of not contracting mumps, even if you're exposed if you're vaccinated.”
Health officials say the only way to cure mumps is to wait for the body to fight it off.
Be sure to get enough rest, hydration and proper medication.
Ways to prevent this contagious disease are not share items, such as drinking after someone or sharing silverware.