What To Know About The Syracuse University Mumps Outbreak


Holiday season is fast approaching which means so are sicknesses. Unfortunately, Syracuse University has reached an outbreak of the mumps. Here’s everything you need to know about the Syracuse University mumps outbreak.

1. Tally of Cases Rising

Confirmed: 24*  Probable: 33*

A confirmed case is a student who has presented symptoms and who has had their test results returned as positive for the mumps. A probable case, on the other hand, is a student who has presented symptoms, but has not had their test results returned to them. These numbers are anticipated to rise for the Syracuse University mumps outbreak until it’s been completely isolated.

*Numbers as of 10/19/17, numbers are expected to rise

2. Lacrosse

Sorry, Lacrosse fans… The teams at Syracuse will not be playing for the fall season. Why? The Mumps. A good chunk of the players on both the men’s and women’s teams contracted the illness in the beginning of the outbreak. In a statement, Director of Athletics John Wildhack said, “Our student-athletes’ safety, and the safety of all students, faculty and staff, remains our top priority…After continued discussions, and with great counsel from the state and county, we are confident this is the right call.”

3. Emails, Emails, Emails, Texts

Everyone on campus has received the emails (and even a text message!) warning students to stay healthy and to report to Health Services if you start to show symptoms. There is one email that only some students receive and it is definitely heart stopping.

“Dear Student, We have identified several cases of the mumps among our students…That is why you are receiving this letter: our records indicate that you may have been exposed.”

This email means that someone in your class, or dorm floor, has the mumps and the likeliness of you making contact is higher than most. Nothing to freak out over! Just watch yourself and stay healthy!

4. How contagious?!

Yeah, the mumps is pretty contagious. If someone sneezes, coughs, or if you come in contact with a contaminated object, you could get it. A person with the mumps is contagious 2-3 days before swelling and 5 days after the swelling begins. You may have contracted the mumps; however, it will be 12-25 days before you’ll know. It becomes difficult to contain such a spreadable illness on a college campus, but Syracuse is doing their best!

5. Symptoms, Preventions and Vaccinations

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides. If you show signs of one or more of these symptoms, take a trip to Health Services just to be on the safe side.

You cannot completely prevent the mumps; however, these are a few steps you can take to lessen your chances: don’t share drinks or eating utensils, cover your mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing, refrain from kissing and other intimate activity, don’t share cigarettes and e-cigarettes, wash your hands often with soap and water, do not play drinking games, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like sinks, doorknobs and tables*.

Even if you have been vaccinated, you can still get the mumps. But, the good thing is, you have been vaccinated (most likely twice). A third vaccine does exist; however, Syracuse University does not encourage a third vaccine since there is not enough information to back the results.

*Syracuse University is providing all students with sanitary wipes to sanitize their rooms and areas.

6. Midterms vs. Mumps

After a student is diagnosed with the mumps, they are sent into isolation until the illness leaves their system. This, of course, means that these students are missing their classes, exams, and other deadlines. In a letter to the professors, the Vice Chancellor Michele G. Wheatly asked for them to be lenient and understanding. Many professors understand and have been able to work with the students while they are in isolation. If you have upcoming deadlines and have the mumps, make sure to check in with your professors just in case!

7. … Am I going to die?

Death is SUPER rare. You are more likely to suffer from a side affect, or complication, rather than dying.

“In recent U.S. mumps outbreaks (2006, 2009 to 2010), orchitis occurred in 3.3 to 10% of adolescent and adult males. In 60% to 83% of males with orchitis caused by mumps, only one testis is affected. Such orchitis, even bilaterally, very rarely causes sterility. Among adolescent and adult females in recent outbreaks, mastitis rates have been ≤1% and oophoritis rates have been ≤1%. Other rare complications of mumps include pancreatitis, deafness, meningitis, and encephalitis, which have occurred in less than 1% of cases in recent U.S. outbreaks. There have been no mumps related deaths reported in the United States during recent mumps outbreaks.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention

8. Where did the infected go?

Any students who have been infected have been moved off campus to a hotel (unnamed hotel) to prevent further spreading on campus. Don’t think that they are on some magical vacation, guys! These isolated students are continuing their coursework online and anything they miss, they will still have to make up. The Syracuse University mumps outbreak isn’t all that luxurious, so don’t be jealous of them!

9. This is NOT the first outbreak at Syracuse

What a shock. Mumps outbreaks are actually common on campuses across the nation; however, this is the second time this year that Syracuse is getting hit. This past May, four Syracuse students (and one local high school student) had contracted the mumps and thankfully these were the only ones affected. The current outbreak is definitely much worse; however, it is not the first incident to occur on campus. The Syracuse University mumps outbreak isn’t the only one!

10. School Cancellation

Sorry, kids. The rumors about good ol’ Cuse shutting down campus and giving us an early break is NOT true.

Pulling straight from the Health Services website: “Is the University going to shut down because of the outbreak? No, while the Center for Disease Control considers three confirmed cases an outbreak, mumps is an easily containable disease. Good health practices and getting a vaccine can significantly limit your exposure and the spreading of mumps. There is no reason to leave campus and no reason to be alarmed. The University is taking aggressive action to educate the campus community about prevention and treatment.” If only the Syracuse University mumps outbreak let us get out of school.

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Katherine Davis

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Katherine moved up to upstate New York in 2016 to begin her years at Syracuse University. She is majoring in International Relations.

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