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VCU reports 2 cases of mumps, as virus spreads through Richmond area

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RICHMOND, Va. – Two cases of mumps have been reported within the Virginia Commonwealth University community, according to a university release.

The Richmond City Health Department (RCHD) is investigating two laboratory-confirmed and one suspect cases of mumps.

There are no clear connections among the cases, officials said. Officials added that other cases of mumps have been identified within the Richmond-metro area. In late March, hundreds of Henrico County students may have been exposed to mumps, Henrico school officials told parent.

VCU students were encouraged to be aware of the risk of mumps in their community, take precautions to avoid mumps infection and seek out medical care if they suspect they might have mumps.

Mumps is an acute viral infection transmitted person-to-person through direct contact with respiratory droplets spread by coughing and sneezing, or contact with surfaces contaminated by those droplets. It is also spread through direct contact with saliva, such as by kissing or sharing drinks or lip balm.

Individuals infected with mumps develop symptoms 12 to 25 days after exposure. Symptoms of mumps include body aches, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, or headache, followed by tenderness and swelling in the jaw and/or cheek area. Men may develop testicular swelling. The majority of mumps infections are mild and individuals recover within a few days to a week; complications are uncommon, but can be severe.

To prevent the spread of the virus, VCU asked students with suspected mumps to self-isolate at home and avoid interaction with other people for at least five days after the onset of symptoms. In addition, if you have had signs and symptoms of mumps in the past two months, particularly swelling of the jaw area, please notify Student Health Services.

Officials said that the mump vaccine is 88% effective in persons having received two doses. Although it is still possible to contract mumps when vaccinations are up-to-date, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent mumps infection.