UC Berkeley experiencing outbreak of mumps

There is an outbreak of mumps in the UC Berkeley campus community, campus officials announced late Tuesday night.

Cases of the contagious viral infection, which is transmitted by the mucus or saliva of an infected person, were first reported on campus Friday. The confirmed cases were quarantined, but Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services Ron Coley sent a campuswide email Tuesday announcing the outbreak.

The email did not specify the extent of the outbreak.

University Health Services is working closely with the California Department of Public Health to limit spread of the disease, according to the email, the text of which was also posted on the campus health services web page.

Symptoms of mumps typically develop 16 to 18 days after exposure and can include fever, headache and swollen salivary glands, according to campus health services.

Beginning in 1977, children were given a vaccine against mumps, which significantly reduced the rate of the disease, according to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, after a spate of cases in the 1980s, schoolchildren were recommended to receive a second vaccination, which further reduced incidents of the disease.

Although people who have received two doses of the vaccine are at less risk of contracting mumps, campus health services recommends that students receive a third of the vaccine. UC Berkeley students can receive the vaccine, free of charge, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the campus Tang Center.

Jordan Bach-Lombardo is the university news editor.