Mumps Targeting Hawai’i College Students

The effectiveness of vaccines is not always high. This is an issue that the United States has had to deal with and continues to deal with in preventing outbreaks of diseases that have been minimized through the use of vaccines. Throughout the years, mumps outbreaks have been few because of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine (MMR). However, recently there has been a mumps outbreak - here in Hawai’i. According to Outbreak News Today, in 2017 alone, Hawai’i has experienced “500 mumps cases, including a dozen complications (e.g., orchitis, hearing loss).”  The State’s Epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park, noted that the mumps is targeting “both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.” Most at risk of this mumps outbreak are children and young adults. More than half of the identified mumps cases were found in adults from ages 18 and older. Because of this, the Hawai’i State Department of Health (HDOH) is stressing that university and college students are particularly at risk for getting and spreading mumps, especially because they tend to live, work, and study in crowded areas.  

So, what does the HDOH recommend for how university and college students can protect themselves from getting/spreading the mumps?   

Receive a Dose of the MMR vaccine ASAP!  

The HDOH recommends that anyone that was born in 1957 or after get the MMR vaccine. This includes if (1) you received one MMR dose five or more years ago, (2) if you received two MMR doses ten or more years ago, or (3) you have not ever received an MMR dose or don’t recall ever getting one.

Wash Your Hands

Do this as often as possible! Be sure to use soap and warm water. It helps to wash off most germs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you take about 40-60 seconds to wash your hands.

Cover Your Sneeze/Cough

Use your arm to cover your cough/sneeze, it helps to prevent the spread of disease. If you use a tissue, then throw it away and wash your hands (notice a theme here?). Mumps can be spread through coughing, sneezing and touching.

Use Your Own Cups & Utensils

Sharing is not caring. Be sure to use your own cups and utensils because you can never really tell if someone is sick or not, unless they are showing severe symptoms or they let you know.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

For a list of mumps symptoms, visit Outbreak News Today.