Four Brown University students have contracted the mumps, the latest in a series of outbreaks on college campuses across the country.
The affected students who remain contagious have been isolated during the period when transmission is possible – normally five days after onset of symptoms, Brian Clark, a university spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Brown officials, working with the Rhode Island Department of Health, notified the university community on Friday, Clark said, immediately after confirming the first diagnosed cases on campus.
“While uncomfortable, mumps is generally not harmful and passes spontaneously in under a week,’’ Dr. Adam Pallant, clinical director at Brown University Health Services, said in a notice to the Brown community. “Antibiotics do not influence the course of the illness and are not prescribed in affected individuals."
The vast majority of students and employees at Brown, Pallant said, have been vaccinated against the mumps.
Across the country, nearly 5,000 cases of mumps infections were reported between January 1st and November 4th, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Several colleges in Washington, D.C., the University of Virginia and Syracuse University have all reported mumps outbreaks on their campuses this year.
Mumps outbreaks can and do occur even in highly vaccinated communities, particularly in schools, colleges and camps where people live in close contact, according to the CDC. The vaccine, known as MMR, (measles, mumps and rubella) helps limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks.