Mumps outbreak at Mizzou curtailing some social gatherings

COLUMBIA, MO (KTVI) – The number of Mumps cases at the University of Missouri continues to climb.

Mizzou officials are taking steps to slow the spread of the illness. There are now 128 cases and doctors don’t know if the outbreak of mumps has peaked. They are taking action to keep others from being infected.

Davesha Kindred is a student, “I just want to walk around with Germex and disinfectant spray because I don’t want to get it.”

Mumps can cause cheeks to swell and make a person miserable. The number of cases on the Columbia campus has grown from a few at the beginning of November to well over a hundred this week. Dr. Susan Even is a physician at the student health center.  She said, ‘Usually people recover with seven to 10 days.”

She said she supports calling off the annual late night breakfast during exam week. And social groups are being asked to cancel get togethers where food and drink are served to slow the spread of the disease.  Dr. Even added, “It seems that’s one way we could reduce the transmission among students that aren’t routinely living together.” Student Melissa Maddox said, “If it’s growing that rapidly then I would say maybe cut down on social events.”

Kaelyn Stergell is also a student, “I’m not completely worried because I’ve been vaccinated and everything.” It turns out that every student infected was vaccinated. Still experts said it is best to get the shot but, obviously, it’s not foolproof.

Dr. Michael Cooperstock is a university expert in diseases said, “Even in this case where the vaccine is imperfect there is no doubt that the number of cases of mumps has decreased dramatically in the area that we have the Mumps vaccine.”  Dr. Even added, “It’s the best protection we have.”

Before the vaccine there were hundreds of thousands of cases each year in this country. This year the number is already twice that of 2015 still there are less than five thousand.