A UNC student is being tested for a probable case of the mumps, the university said in a campus alert Monday.
The dates the unnamed student may have been infected were April 23-30, and symptoms of the viral illness take about 16 to 18 days to surface after exposure.
The student lives off-campus, and the risk to the general population is low, the university said in its alert.
Mumps is a viral illness best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. The most common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, and swollen, tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides. Though medical complications can occur, most people fully recover from mumps.
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UNC requires that students be vaccinated for the mumps to be enrolled.
Mumps is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets (from coughing and sneezing) and saliva from an infected person. To prevent the spread, wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid close contact with ill individuals and do not share beverages, eating utensils or cigarettes.
People with mumps are most infectious two days before their symptoms begin but may be infectious as much as seven days before onset of symptoms.
Symptoms of exposure to the UNC student would develop May 7 through 23.
UNC urges anyone who develops symptoms of mumps (especially facial swelling on one or both sides) to stay home, away from others, and call Campus Health, Employee Health or their healthcare provider prior to visiting the clinic.
The university also recommended people check for evidence of immunity to mumps. Evidence of immunity includes:
▪ Documentation by the doctor who diagnosed you with mumps, if you’ve had it in the past.
▪ Documentation of two mumps-containing vaccines (usually MMR) given on or after your first birthday and administered at least one month apart.
▪ Documentation of a positive mumps titer, a blood test showing immunity.
If you were born before 1957, you are likely immune to mumps and do not need additional evidence of immunity. People in this age group have likely had mumps in childhood.
For more information or a list of resources and contacts, go to alertcarolina.unc.edu/2017/05/01/unc-student-tested-for-probable-case-of-mumps.