BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State University will now reportedly offer free vaccines to students after more cases of mumps have been confirmed on campus.
WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge reports there are now 12 confirmed cases of the virus, according to an email alert sent to all students Wednesday. The university is now offering free doses of the MMR vaccine to any students in certain "high-risk" groups.
Those groups include students who have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine in their lifetime or students who have had direct contact with someone diagnosed with mumps. Members of the LSU tennis team, all fraternities and sororities and the Tiger Band have also been identified as "high-risk" groups for these confirmed cases.
Last week, the university confirmed that at least nine students were ill with mumps. One of those students lives alone on-campus and will be quarantined for two weeks. LSU has also alerted faculty about the outbreak and canceled a tennis tournament after a student-athlete was diagnosed with the virus.
Mumps is a contagious viral infection spreading through saliva or mucus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, weakness, and loss of appetite. Most people will have a red rash on their face and what mumps is best known for is causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw.
Any student who may be experiencing symptoms of mumps is urged to call the Student Health Center or their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
There has been a 99 percent decrease in mumps cases in the US since the vaccine first became available in 1967. Now, the vaccine is usually given in combination with measles and rubella.
While complications are rare, they can lead to things like hearing loss, and swelling of the pancreas, testicles, ovaries, or brain. In very rare cases, mumps can be deadly. The best defense is to make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
Most LSU students are required to be vaccinated, but the CDC said even if you've had the vaccine, you can still get mumps. LSU said all 12 students received their two MMR boosters and were in compliance with vaccination requirements. Doctors aren't sure why, but the CDC claims it could be that some immune systems just don't respond as well.