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Important message from Provost Wente regarding mumps on campus

Feb. 16, 2017, 7:32 PM

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

As we have just told the students in the message provided below, a small number of mumps cases have been confirmed on the Vanderbilt campus.  While no students diagnosed with mumps remain contagious or in isolation, the possibility of more cases in the coming weeks does exist.  Student Health Center staff members are working closely with public health officials from the Metropolitan Nashville Health Department, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as experts in Infection Prevention at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  (Further details about the illness are available below).

While this situation is still unfolding and we will have more information in the days to come, we wanted to provide details relevant to you as members of our community:

First, Occupational Health is actively working in collaboration with the Health Department to identify and contact faculty/staff who may have been exposed to a student with mumps. In general, individuals who have already received 2 doses of MMR or mumps vaccine do not need additional vaccination or testing after an exposure. If any additional vaccination or testing is recommended based on an individual’s exposure and vaccination history, Occupational Health will provide those services at no cost to the employee. Faculty/staff with questions may contact Occupational Health atoccupational.health.clinic@vanderbilt.edu or by phone at 615-936-0955. Please do not transmit personal medical information via email.

Second, faculty/staff who become ill and develop swollen or painful salivary glands under the ears, jaw, or on the cheeks, should schedule a same-day appointment with the Occupational Health Clinic by calling 615-936-0955. Potential mumps patients should be seen in the main Occupational Health Clinic, 640 Medical Arts, rather than in the Express Care Clinic. Please don a mask at the entrance to the clinic.

Third, updates are being provided on the FAQ page hosted by the Student Health Center.

Further details of our response will be shared soon.

Sincerely,
Susan Wente
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

 

MESSAGE TO STUDENTS OF FEBRUARY 16, 2017:

Subject Line:  Important message from Student Health Center re: mumps on campus

Dear Students:

A small number of mumps cases have been confirmed on the Vanderbilt campus.  While no students diagnosed with mumps remain contagious or in isolation, the possibility of more cases in the coming weeks does exist.  Student Health Center staff members are working closely with public health officials from the Metropolitan Nashville Health Department, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as experts in Infection Prevention at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Mumps is a viral illness whose early symptoms typically include fever, headache, and fatigue that are followed by swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw and on the cheeks.  The symptoms typically appear 2-4 weeks after exposure.  Most people with mumps make a full recovery after a few weeks.  Return to school is allowed after 5 days of isolation (dated from the first date of the swelling). Some people have such a mild illness, they don’t even know that they are infected with the mumps virus.

Mumps is spread just like other common viruses—through saliva or mucous from the mouth, nose, or throat.  An infected person can therefore transmit the infection by coughing, sneezing, sharing items such as cups or beverages, intimate contact, or by touching surfaces with unwashed hands.  Multiple U.S. college campuses have seen outbreaks of mumps in the last two years, likely because of the close living and learning communities that exist in the university setting.

The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is highly effective in preventing mumps.  While not perfect, people who have received two doses of the MMR are nine times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people with the same exposure.   Proof of MMR vaccine (or approved medical or religious exemption) is required for registration at Vanderbilt University, so the Student Health Center feels confident the student body is well protected.   At the current time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is not recommending additional vaccination for the entire Vanderbilt community, though it’s possible as this situation evolves, that a recommendation for a third MMR may be made for the closest contacts of the mumps cases.  This situation is evolving rapidly and we will keep the campus updated as new information or new recommendations become available.  There is no medication that can prevent the spread of mumps on the campus.  You can protect yourself by not sharing drinks or eating utensils and by washing your hands frequently.

While the number of cases on our campus is currently small, we are aware that universities across the country have experienced a significant number of cases. The university is prepared to take the necessary steps to address a larger number of cases, including but not limited to, identifying isolation spaces for ill students and mitigating the impact of isolation, such as providing meals and academic accommodations.

Students who become ill and develop swollen or painful salivary glands under the ears or jaw, or on the cheeks, should schedule a same-day appointment with the Student Health Center by calling 615-322-2427.

We will continue to update you as this situation evolves.  The Student Health Center has posted FAQs on their website.

Students with questions or concerns about their individual health concerns can also message their healthcare providers at Student Health using www.myhealthatvanderbilt.com .  More general questions or concerns can also be sent to the Student Health email at studenthealth@vanderbilt.edu .

Sincerely,

The Student Health Center