5 possible cases of mumps investigated at a North Carolina university

Several students might have mumps at a North Carolina university, media outlets report.

High Point University sent a notice to students on Wednesday afternoon letting them know that the campus clinic discovered five possible cases of the virus, WGHP reported.

The students being treated were moved to special housing, WXII reported, and the university is working with the Guilford County Health Department to find others that the students may have been in contact with.

High Point University is asking students who have “swelling of the glands around the ears or neck” to contact the student health center, WFMY reported.

Symptoms of mumps include “puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaw,” a fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s spread through saliva or “respiratory droplets” from the mouth, nose or throat, the CDC says.

Someone infected with mumps can transmit it by talking, coughing, sneezing, sharing things like drinks, having close contact with others, and touching surfaces without washing their hands, the CDC says.

The university says getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting mumps, WXII reported, and all students are legally required to get the MMR vaccine before entering college unless they are exempt for medical or religious reasons.

The MMR vaccine protects against mumps, measles and rubella and is safe and effective, the CDC says.

Although there has been more than a 99 percent decrease in mumps cases in the United States since the mumps vaccination program that began in 1967, according to the CDC, outbreaks are still possible, especially in “settings where people have close, prolonged contact,” like universities.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.