Mumps outbreak hits Oxford

first_imgA mumps outbreak among the student population of Oxford has been recorded this week, with many students having to leave University before the end of term.In the first week of March there were 27 recorded cases of mumps, a dramatic rise from previous months.Thames Valley Health Protection Unit said in a statement, “The outbreak is the result of poor immunity amongst the student group and the easy spread of the virus between students.”The issue is now being investigated at both Oxford and Oxford Brookes University.Kari Jackson, a Classics and German student from St Johns caught mumps, despite having had two MMR vaccines. She said, “The symptoms set in on Wednesday of seventh week, when I woke up with a stiff jaw and swollen glands. I was completely dazed and it was impossible to concentrate on work due to all the pain killers.“You’re supposed to stay in isolation for six days while you have all the symptoms. It was so frustrating.”Vidhi Doshi, a first year student from St Peters also showed signs of mumps in seventh week. “On Sunday I couldn’t chew and on Monday I woke up with serious mumps. I lived in Bombay till I was eleven so I would have had my vaccines there….I think I’ve had the two MMR vaccines but records say it’s not clear whether I have so I just don’t know.“My college nurse told me I should not stay in Oxford as I would infect people. So on Monday morning I went home to London and have been there all week. I was so upset I missed the whole of eighth week,” the student said.The outbreak has been attributed to the fact that many students aged between 18 and 25 have had just one dose of the MMR vaccination (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, rather than the two separate vaccinations that are required.The use of two MMR vaccines was introduced in 1996, when many students were still at school. This means that many students may have received the MR (measles and rubella) vaccine, which does not protect against mumps.Trish Mannes, Consultant in Health Protection at the Health Protection Agency’s Thames Valley Health Protection Unit said, “We are advising students to be aware of the symptoms of mumps. Should they become symptomatic they should see their GP and avoid social contact for five days after onset of the symptoms. All students are being encouraged to ensure good hand hygiene and tissue etiquette.”The symptoms of mumps usually develop between 15 and 24 days after being infected with the virus. Symptoms include swollen glands, headache, joint pain, nausea, dry mouth, mild abdominal pain, fatigue loss of appetite, and fever.Mumps is spread by coughs and sneezes, as well as by contact through saliva. In its most extreme form, it can cause viral meningitis and permanent deafness. More rare complications arising from mumps include inflammation of the pancreas and of the ovaries and testicles.last_img

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