SUNY: Mumps confirmed in four students

This illustration provided a 3D graphic representation of a spherical-shaped mumps virus particle, that was studded with glycoprotein tubercles. The studs, colorized reddish-brown, are known as F-proteins (fusion), and those colorized beige, are referred to as HN-proteins (hemagglutinin-neuraminidase). ILLUSTRATION PROVIDED BY CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

The SUNY Cortland Student Health Services Office announced three additional confirmed cases of mumps this evening, bringing the total to four students:

A total of four SUNY Cortland students have now tested positive for the mumps virus, according to the Cortland County Health Department. Four other students with suspected mumps symptoms have been identified, although one has since tested negative.

All of those students were isolated for the required length of time and are no longer considered contagious. The have either recovered or are recovering.

In addition, a faculty member has been asked not to report to campus after developing mump-like symptoms.

SUNY Cortland will continue to work closely with state and county health officials to ensure the university continues to take appropriate measures to protect the safety of its students and the campus community. As it obtains additional test results, further recommendations may be made.

All students at SUNY Cortland are in compliance with state law that requires students to be vaccinated against mumps. Unfortunately, the immunity gained from childhood vaccination can sometimes wane over time, making even vaccinated people susceptible.

Mumps is a viral infection that is known for causing pain and swelling of the salivary glands. Other symptoms may resemble the flu — fever, chills, headaches and muscle aches. Severe complications are uncommon, particularly in those who have been vaccinated. Some people acquire the infection and exhibit no symptoms at all.

The virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets from patients with an active infection much in the same way that the flu or the common cold is.  Examples of situations that represent a risk of transmission include coughing, sneezing or talking in close proximity to another person; sharing items, such as food, drinks or eating utensils; or touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

The contagious period may begin before the glands begin to swell. It continues for five days after the onset of swelling. Students who have concerns or symptoms consistent with mumps, should make an appointment at Student Health Services or seek care with a family doctor, urgent care clinic or the emergency room of the local hospital.

Due to the confirmation of mumps cases at the university, the administration this week decided to temporarily suspend participation of all SUNY Cortland education majors in early field placements in schools, child care centers, after school programs and other programs involving children.

This is a simply a precautionary measure.  At this time, we do not believe any SUNY Cortland students presenting with symptoms of the mumps have been in schools, where children under 5 or with medical conditions that do not allow them to be vaccinated might be susceptible.

The field placement suspension is currently scheduled to last through March 23, when SUNY Cortland students will return after spring break.  Instructors have been asked to accommodate students impacted by this, so they will not be penalized for something that was beyond their control.

The suspension will NOT affect the placements of student teachers, as most of them are not living on campus and have little risk of exposure.

To learn more about about mumps, visit SUNY Cortland’s mumps information page.