GREENSBORO — Mumps has made its way to UNCG.
The university said Wednesday that one of its students has been diagnosed with the highly contagious viral infection that has hit two other area universities.
UNCG’s student clinic is working with state and Guilford County health officials to treat the student and make the campus community aware of the illness. UNCG also said it has notified everyone who has come in close contact recently with the infected student.
This is the first reported case at UNCG. Elon and High Point universities, meanwhile, have been battling the mumps since mid-September.
Elon said it has recorded three new mumps cases this week to bring its fall semester total to 10 cases.
High Point had seen 30 cases among its students as of Oct. 28. Since then, two more students have been diagnosed with mumps. Only one student remains in isolation because that person is still contagious.
The cases reported at these three schools make up the bulk of mumps cases reported statewide in 2019. As of Oct. 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, North Carolina had seen 44 cases of mumps compared to just 10 at the same time in 2018.
Mumps can start out with the flu-like symptoms of fever, head and muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite before it causes swelling of the salivary glands in the jaw and behind the ears. Symptoms don’t usually appear until 16 to 18 days after a person is infected. A person is contagious for five days after facial swelling appears —and for two days before.
Mumps spreads by respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking as well as through contact with saliva by sharing utensils and beverage containers as well as through kissing.
Two doses of the MMR vaccine, given to most children before they turn seven, is 88 percent effective in preventing mumps. When giving two doses of the vaccine became standard by the late 1980s, mumps — a common childhood disease in the United States — virtually disappeared.
But a growing body of research suggests that the vaccine’s protection can wear off in some people over time. That’s one reason mumps can spread quickly in places where lots of people live in close contact, such as college campuses, summer camps and other tight-knit communities.
Local, state and national health officials recommend that people who think they might have had contact with the mumps get another dose of the MMR vaccine. UNCG held an MMR vaccine booster clinic at its Student Health Services building Wednesday and has additional clinics scheduled for today and Friday.
High Point and Elon universities previously have held vaccine clinics on their campuses.