Three people at the College of Charleston have confirmed cases of the mumps virus prompting state health officials to deem it an “outbreak,” the university announced Monday.
The school has isolated those who tested positive for the virus and is contacting others who may be at increased risk for infection, according to a news release.
It’s unclear whether the affected are students, faculty or staff.
Symptoms of mumps include swollen salivary glands in front of the ear, headache, fatigue, sore throat, fever and chills, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The virus typically lasts two and a half weeks, and is seldom serious. In rare cases, it can cause swelling of the testicles and ovaries, deafness or meningitis, which is swelling of the protective tissue surrounding the brain and spine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
College of Charleston follows guidelines from the American College Health Association, which calls for students to receive the measles, mumps and rubella (or MMR) vaccine, according to the release. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
“Students can be granted an immunization waiver based on medical or religious reasons,” College of Charleston said in its news release. “But in the event of certain communicable disease emergencies, these exempted individuals can be excluded from campus activities in order to protect the health and welfare of the campus community.”
The College’s health advisory also noted that people who have gotten one or more doses of the MMR vaccine can still catch mumps.
Still, the best way to protect against mumps is through the MMR vaccine, according to the CDC. When America started its mumps vaccination program in 1967, there were 186,000 reported cases of mumps per year, according to the CDC’s website. Because of the vaccine, mumps cases in America have decreased 99 percent, according to the CDC.
College of Charleston will be holding a vaccination clinic on campus this week to provide vaccines to those more likely to contract the disease.