April 13, 2006

Health officials offer information about mumps

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Charles W. Clemens, chief of staff at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Student Health Center, said today (April 13) there are one confirmed case of mumps and two suspected cases on campus.

Clemens said all three students had been immunized against the childhood disease.

SIUC Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Larry H. Dietz said the University will work closely with the students until they can return to class. "Our Office of Transitional Student Programs will assist the students in making sure their instructors are notified and will help make any needed arrangements for class work to be completed," he said.

SIUC Director of Student Health Cheryl Presley said the University received confirmation of the first case on Monday, April 10. On Wednesday, two more students with clinically recognizable symptoms came to the Student Health Center seeking treatment. SIUC expects to receive formal test results next week.

In the meantime, University officials hope to educate students and parents about the disease and the affected students planned to go home and stay isolated until they would no longer be contagious.

Mumps, a viral infection in the salivary glands, has reappeared in recent months across the Midwest. Cheryl Griffin, director of nursing with the Jackson County Health Department, said that as of earlier this week, there were 46 confirmed cases of mumps in Illinois. Larger outbreaks have occurred in Iowa.

SIUC students who might experience symptoms should phone SIUC's Student Health Center (618/453-3311) and talk to a nurse so they can arrange to see a doctor without exposing others. The virus spreads through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include fever, headaches, swollen glands under the chin and a general feeling of malaise.

One of the students lives off campus. The other two live in on-campus residence halls. Halls affected are Mae Smith Hall (occupancy about 700) and Allen Hall (occupancy about 150). Students who are in classes or live near the affected students will get letters explaining the situation.

Presley said it has been more than 20 years since mumps appeared on campus.

Providing services to meet the health needs of students is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.