10 confirmed cases of mumps at PRCC
Published 7:00 am Friday, April 28, 2017
Pearl River Community College is currently battling a mumps outbreak on the Poplarville campus.
What started out as one confirmed case in early April has since spread to 10 students, all of which are either on the baseball team or in close contact with the team, Vice President Dr. Adam Breerwood said.
After the first confirmed case, Breerwood said the school immediately contacted the Mississippi State Department of Health and initiated an emergency protocol, notifying faculty and students of the risk.
All suspected areas of contagion were disinfected, specifically the workout and training areas and hand sanitizing containers often used by the baseball team, he said.
As soon as students started to show symptoms they were sent home to prevent further spread of the disease, Breerwood said.
Some of the students have since returned to classes after being cleared by their doctors and the MSDH, he said.
With most of the cases under control, Breerwood said he hopes the issue will be resolved shortly, however, the virus can stay in the body for up to 25 days.
“It’s a unique situation,” Breerwood said. “We haven’t heard of anybody getting the mumps in a number of years.”
At the recommendation of MSDH, the college provided vaccinations for the students to prevent their risk of infection, Breerwood said. As of Thursday morning, he awaited word whether the agency would recommend another round of vaccines.
According to the MSDH website, two doses of the vaccine provides lifelong protection to nine out of 10 people.
Students are scheduled to move out of the dorms May 5, giving college staff time to decontaminate any possible areas before summer classes begin, Breerwood said.
The college currently doesn’t require students to receive the mumps vaccine prior to enrollment, Breerwood said, but the administration is considering it now.
“This is what’s somewhat ironic, LSU had the same issue and
Loyola in New Orleans had it,” Breerwood said. “I was surprised to hear that [MSDH] has seen outbreaks in the last couple of years.”
According to MSDH, the disease is most often spread by coughing, sneezing or other contact with someone who is infected. It is just as contagious as the flu, often before symptoms are presented.
The department’s website also says outbreaks most often occur on college campuses, particularly among sports teams.
“We’ve had our bouts with it, and I have been very proud of the way the campus has responded to it,” Breerwood said.
Anyone experiencing symptoms should see their healthcare provider immediately.