A probable case of mumps in a New Paltz Middle School student was reported to the district on Tuesday, December 20, said schools Superintendent Maria Rice. “I immediately sent out a letter alerting parents in the middle school. And following our protocol, the student will not be allowed back to school until the doctor has cleared the student to return.”
Rice said she learned today, Wednesday, December 21 that the student affected had been immunized.
Last month the New Paltz Central School District had a confirmed case of mumps at the high school, but the student has since recovered and returned to classes with a doctor’s note confirming they were no longer infectious.
That student, too, had been immunized against the virus, but health officials say that even two doses of the MMR (mumps) vaccine are just 88 percent effective in preventing mumps, and the vaccine’s effectiveness can decrease over time. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps after one vaccination, but those born in 1957 or after that date — especially those who are students in a post-secondary educational institution, work in a health care facility or plan to travel internationally — are recommended to have a second dose.
The state and federal centers for disease control and prevention recommend a third dose of the MMR vaccine as a control measure for people in settings where people are in close contact with each other and there has been an official outbreak, which is defined by at least three cases of mumps in one location. The campus of SUNY New Paltz has had 69 confirmed or probable cases of mumps since October, with more under investigation.
Several other states have also reported college outbreaks over the past year.
Statewide, there have been 147 confirmed or probable cases of mumps reported so far this year, compared with 24 cases in all of 2015. The highest mumps case count in recent years was in 2010, when 663 cases were reported, most of which were related to a large outbreak in downstate New York. Most of the cases this year have been associated with outbreaks on college campuses.
Mumps is caused by a respiratory virus. Symptoms include painful swelling of the salivary glands near the ears and under the jaw, which can occur on one or both sides of the face. The swelling may be associated with other non-specific symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and decreased appetite.
The virus is spread through direct contact with the saliva of an infected person, which can happen through coughing, sneezing, sharing a drinking glass or kissing. The incubation period for mumps is from 16-18 days, but can go up to 25.
The SUNY New Paltz website maintains a page devoted to the mumps outbreak at the college at https://www.newpaltz.edu/