UNC student tested for probable case of mumps



A UNC student is being tested for a probable case of the mumps. The dates the student may have been infectious were April 23 through April 30. The student lives off-campus and the risk to the general population of contracting mumps from this student is low. However, we want to provide you with information about mumps and provide guidance on what to do if you suspect you may have become infected.


About Mumps:

Mumps is a viral illness best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes.  The most common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, headache, and swollen, tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides.  Though medical complications can occur, most people fully recover from mumps.


How Mumps is spread:

Mumps is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets (from coughing and sneezing) and saliva from an infected person.  To prevent the spread of this virus, wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and sneezes, avoid close contact with ill individuals, and do not share beverages, eating utensils or cigarettes.


What you can do:

Symptoms usually begin 16-18 days after exposure, but the range can be as short as 14 days and as long as 25 days from the exposure.  People with mumps are most infectious 2 days before their symptoms begin but may be infectious as much as 7 days before onset of symptoms.

Symptoms from exposure to this student would develop between May 7 and May 23, 2017.

If you develop symptoms of mumps, (especially facial swelling on one or both sides), you should stay home, away from others, and call Campus Health, Employee Health or your healthcare provider prior to visiting to the clinic.

To help you stay healthy, please check for evidence of your immunity to mumps as soon as possible. Evidence of immunity includes:

  • Documentation by the physician who diagnosed you with mumps, if you had the disease in the past,
  • Documentation of two mumps-containing vaccines (usually MMR) given on or after your first birthday and administered at least 1 month apart, or
  • Documentation of a positive mumps titer (a blood test showing immunity).

If you were born before 1957 you are likely immune to mumps and do not need additional evidence of immunity.  People in this age group have likely had mumps in childhood.


For questions or concerns, you may call:

  • Orange County Health Department to speak to a Communicable Disease nurse: 919-245-2400.
  • Campus Health Services to speak to a nurse:  919-966-6573.
  • University Employee Occupational Health Clinic -EHS: 919-966-9119 .
  • Please look at the CHS website for updated information https://campushealth.unc.edu/.  The CDC also has helpful information https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html


Thank you,

Dorothy Cilenti, MSW, MPH, DrPH (Orange County Health Director)

Thevy Chai, MD (Lead Physician, Campus Health Services)

Mary Beth Koza, MBA (Environment Health and Safety Director)


About Informational Messages: The University sends an Informational Message to inform the campus community about a situation that is not an emergency, but is expected to be of significant interest to the campus. An Informational Message is one of three tiers of communication under the University’s revised emergency communications plan. Emergency Warning refers to a siren activation for a significant emergency. And a Timely Warning is issued if there is a continuing danger AND notification will not compromise law enforcement efforts.