In response to the mumps outbreak on the SUNY New Paltz campus, the New York State Department of Health together with the Ulster County Health Department and SUNY New Paltz will hold a vaccination clinic for students on Tuesday, December 13, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesday, December 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Student Union.
There have been 63 confirmed or probable cases of mumps associated with SUNY New Paltz reported to the Department of Health since October with more under investigation, according to a press release from the college.
The Department of Health is recommending that students receive a third dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which it will provide free of charge. It will also assist with staffing and running the clinic.
The college is providing registration information directly to students.
“There is increasing evidence that a third dose of the MMR vaccine will help raise immunity among the students who have not yet been exposed, and help prevent the further spread of mumps on the campus,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “We are also urging students to wash their hands regularly, avoid contact with people who may be sick, and immediately notify their healthcare provider if they suspect they are sick. Students who are ill should stay home from classes and social events.”
The MMR vaccine is safe, but its effectiveness can decrease over time. Two doses of MMR vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing mumps.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidelines for use of a third dose as a control measure during mumps outbreaks in settings in which people are in close contact with one another, where transmission is sustained despite high 2-dose MMR coverage, and when traditional control measures do not slow transmission. All these conditions exist at SUNY New Paltz.
Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious complications, including deafness and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), inflammation of the testes, ovaries and breasts, and spontaneous fetal death in pregnant women. Mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. It is best known for causing painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. There is no treatment, and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks.
Statewide, there have been 147 confirmed or probable cases of mumps reported to-date in 2016, compared with 24 in all of 2015. (This is the highest mumps case count since 2010, when there were 663 cases). Most of the cases this year have been associated with outbreaks on college campuses. Several other states have also reported college outbreaks over the past year.