An email from the Health and Wellness Center sent on Friday notified the campus community that there may be a case of mumps on Lehigh’s campus based on an antibody test.
The suspecting student went home on Sept. 15, awaiting the results from their primary care physician.
“The student has had very limited contact with other individuals on the Lehigh campus,” and they have yet to return to campus, according to the email.
Individuals on campus identified as potential close contacts with the student will be contacted by the Health and Wellness Center to ensure proper precautions are taken.
The center said the best way students can protect themselves is to ensure they are up to date on their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (commonly known as MMR) vaccine, urging students who are unvaccinated to contact the Bethlehem Health Bureau or their primary care physician to schedule a vaccination.
Mumps is most common in unvaccinated individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though it can still present itself in those who have one or two of the virus’s vaccinations.
The virus is highly contagious and is spread through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth. Symptoms usually appear 16-18 days after infection, and people typically fully recover within two weeks.
Mumps most commonly causes puffy cheeks due to sensitive and swollen parotid glands, though it can also cause fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and appetite loss.
According to the CDC, an infected person can spread the virus days before visible swelling to about five days after. Some people may exhibit mild symptoms similar to a cold and may be unaware of their positive status for mumps.
To prevent the spread, the Health and Wellness Center urged the campus community to practice routine precautions such as keeping hands thoroughly clean, avoiding sharing food or drinks, and staying home when feeling ill.
For more information regarding controlling and investigating mumps outbreaks, visit CDC.gov. The Health and Wellness Center also cited the Pennsylvania Department of Health as another information resource on the virus.
More updates would come from Lehigh’s Health and Wellness Center, and The Brown and White will follow this story as it develops.