UTRGV confirms single mumps case; monitoring 2 students

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley officials recently confirmed at least one case of mumps as two other students are currently being monitored for the disease.

The university’s schedules have not changed and daily operations are continuing as usual; however, officials are monitoring the situation and will communicate any developments upon confirmation, UTRGV spokesperson Patrick Gonzales said.

An email was also sent to students to take precautionary and preventive measures.

Cristel Escalona, UTRGV’s physician in charge of student health, said the university is working with the Hidalgo County Health Department for results regarding the two other students, which should be available on Thursday.

Body aches, fever and fatigue are some of the symptoms of mumps. About five days into the illness, salivary glands start swelling.

“There’s complications that you can have from the illness, so it causes overall inflammation,” Escalona said, adding that someone displaying symptoms may appear like “a little chipmunk.”

Testicular inflammation and possible sterility, along with meningitis, are just some possible outcomes of the disease.

Mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease, but those unvaccinated are susceptible to the illness. Most children typically get a vaccine between the ages of 1 and 4, boosting immunity to about 90 percent, she said.

Since Escalona has been at the university since 2012, there has not been a confirmed case of mumps or measles before, she said. Mumps are spread through contact or droplet transmissions like coughing.

“We’ll have periodic outbreaks because, unfortunately, a lot of people are choosing not to vaccinate, but [now] that wasn’t the case with our students on campus to my knowledge as of yet,” Escalona said.

The county health department will vaccinate anyone for a low cost, and adults who want to stay healthy should keep up with their vaccines, she said.