Anchor intro: Kent State students received an email warning of the mumps virus potentially circulating the area.
On Monday afternoon, Kent State University students and employees received an email informing that mumps could potentially be circulating the Kent area. While there are still no confirmed cases at Kent State, the outbreak of the virus at Ohio State University has Kent State preparing to deal with mumps if an outbreak does happen.
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“Given the population density that we have here with several thousand students living in residence halls, it’s the right setting for an outbreak, just as any university campus is, so we’d like to be prepared,” said Angela DeJulius, Director of University Health Services at Kent State.
Mumps is a viral illness categorized by fevers, aches and swollen glands. According to DeJulius, all Kent State students are required to have the MMR vaccine protecting against mumps. In fact, Ohio students are required to have the vaccine to begin kindergarten. However, only about 80 to 90 percent of those immunized are fully protected.
Some Kent State students say that they are concerned about the virus circulating the area.
“I was kind of concerned because a lot of people in my sorority have been sick,” said Marie Huang, a student at Kent State University. “So I was worried that we all had the mumps.”
The mumps virus is so contagious that Ohio law requires patients with mumps to be isolated for five days after the onset of symptoms. Because of this, DeJulius feels it is more important for students to be aware of the virus and take precautionary measures to protect themselves against it rather than panic.
…It’s the right setting for an outbreak, just as any university campus, so we’d like to be prepared.
Angela DeJulius, Director of University Health Services, Kent State
“It’s so communicable and contagious, with coughing, sneezing, etc, that we need to be aware of it and remember common sense hygiene,” said DeJulius. “Which is covering your coughs, covering your sneezes, washing your hands, don’t share drinks–it’s basic stuff that we should do all the time.”
Kent State University Health Services encourage anyone who has not yet received the MMR vaccine to schedule an immunization appointment. The University Health Center urges those with symptoms similar to mumps schedule an appointment to confirm a diagnosis.