New cases have been identified in a mumps outbreak at the University of San Diego, county health officials reported Monday.
Three more undergraduate students have been diagnosed with the mumps after coming in contact with the student who was first diagnosed in February. That student lived in off-campus housing, officials said.
A fifth student who lives on campus was diagnosed just last week.
“For me when I heard about it I was kind of scared, but then I didn't really know anyone who had it and they also offered the vaccination. So I think I'm a going to get that,” USD student Courtney Wong told NBC 7.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a mumps outbreak as three or more cases linked by time and place.
A patient suffering from the mumps often has a fever, headache, earache, and inflammation of the salivary glands.
“The complications can be something called encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, meningitis or inflammation of the surrounding of the brain, or orchitis, which is inflammation of the testicles and inflammation of ovaries. And those last two can cause infertility,” Dr. Eric McDonald of the San Diego County Health Department explained.
Coughing, sneezing, kissing or close contact with an infected person can spread the disease.
An outbreak of mumps has also been reported at Harvard University. The CDC has received 250 reports of mumps so far in 2016. The total cases reported last year was 1,057.
The MMR vaccine is said to be 88-percent effective in preventing the mumps.
Free immunizations are being offered to all undergraduate students at the university to keep the outbreak from spreading, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said. USD students and staff can call (619) 260-4595 to find out details on two vaccination clinics scheduled for this week.