Syracuse University is offering athletes and undergraduates a free 3rd dose of the MMR vaccine during two clinics in Flanagan Gymnasium on October 26 and October 27 between 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Students are being asked to avoid risky behaviors such as kissing, sharing eating utensils, and drinks. “This includes drinking games,” the university wrote to students in an e-mail on Monday afternoon.
Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, has confirmed 27 cases of mumps and 50 probable cases among students, athletes, and other people with links to Syracuse University.
The first cases were reported at the end of August among student-athletes on the university’s lacrosse team. The outbreak has continued to spread over the last few weeks to the general student population.
Syracuse University canceled all men’s and women’s lacrosse events this fall. All organized lacrosse events were canceled for 3 weeks on October 6.
The outbreak is unique because all of the people who were diagnosed with mumps were fully vaccinated. Syracuse University requires mumps vaccines and schools generally require children to get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine before the age of 6.
The problem is that the MMR vaccine is not fully effective. In the best case scenario, 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are 88% effective at preventing mumps in a person who is exposed. Furthermore, it is not clear that a 3rd shot of the MMR vaccine will help a person avoid infection, because some strains of the mumps virus are not covered by the vaccine.
Mumps is a highly-contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. It spreads from person-to-person via droplets of saliva or mucous from the mouth of an infected person. It can spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, or by sharing utensils and objects.
Some people do not experience any symptoms of mumps, but the most characteristic sign of mumps is painfully swollen salivary glands and puffy cheeks. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and appetite loss.