South Carolina officials confirm mumps at Winthrop University
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported confirming a mumps case connected to Winthrop University in Rock Hill this week. Officials said anyone who resided in or visited the university between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14 may have been exposed to mumps.
The case was quickly identified and isolated. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Winthrop University notified all students/faculty/and staff on Dec. 14.
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.
Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications.
The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.
Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord(encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.
Winthrop’s Health and Counseling Services offered the following advice on their website: If you become ill and wonder if you have the mumps, call your provider or Health Services. If you are diagnosed with the mumps, please avoid transmission. Staying home from work or school or in a separate room and avoiding contact with others when ill with the mumps and till five days after the swelling of the parotid glands begins is the best way to prevent the spread of infection. Also, everyone needs to practice good handwashing- thorough and frequently!