About three weeks after the first cases of mumps was recorded within the UC Berkeley community, health officials warn that the outbreak is not over and the campus could face a second wave of cases soon.
There are currently 16 confirmed mumps cases, 15 cases under investigation and 10 suspected cases that were ruled out after investigation, according to the California Department of Public Health.
But because of the long incubation period of two to four weeks, Kim LaPean, University Health Services communications manager, said it is difficult to know how many people are infected with the virus. While the outbreak remains contained to the campus, she said it has not leveled off.
“This would be about the time when a second wave of mumps would come into play,” LaPean said. “We’re kind of keeping an eye out, not getting too hopeful that we may be seeing the decrease.”
Freshman Derek Dyer echoed the general unconcern of students who think the outbreak will not affect them.
“It would suck to have it, but it’s not really fatal. So in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal,” Dyer said. “If I know a person who’s sick, I might avoid sharing a drink with them. But other than that, I haven’t taken any precautions.”
LaPean said students’ decline in concern about contracting the virus has contributed to a “disappointing” decrease in turnout at the vaccination clinics. Yet the outbreak could last multiple months, she said.
“After a couple of weeks, apathy sets in, which is kind of dangerous for us,” she said. “We just have to keep working even harder to just educate the campus.”
More than 3,000 students have been immunized at UC Berkeley within the past month, according to the department. LaPean said more students should still receive immunizations, especially those who live in enclosed housing settings.
The Tang Center has had four clinics offering mumps vaccinations since the onset of the outbreak. Despite the most recent decline in attendants, LaPean said over 1,900 people were vaccinated Oct. 14 — the highest volume ever at their vaccination clinics.
The Tang Center’s upcoming clinic is scheduled for next Friday and will offer both mumps and flu vaccines.
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