Dear Students, Faculty & Staff,

As of this morning, Truman has three confirmed cases of mumps among students on our campus.  Six more students have been clinically evaluated for mumps and are awaiting confirmation by lab results.  The three confirmed cases were adequately immunized for mumps, having received two MMR vaccines.

People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are about nine times less likely to get mumps than are unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to mumps virus. However, some people who receive two doses of MMR can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease. If a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands (glands in front of and below the ear or under the jaw).  In males, mumps can lead to painful swelling of the testicles. Among women, mumps can lead to swelling of the ovaries, which may cause abdominal pain, or swelling of the breasts.

Mumps spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by: coughing, sneezing or talking; sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils with others; and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others. Mumps likely spreads before the salivary glands begin to swell and up to five days after the swelling begins.

Unfortunately, mumps testing can require up to a week for results to be obtained. Thus, individuals with the classic symptoms of mumps are treated as though they are positive and asked to refrain from class and other activities for 5-7 days after the swelling of the salivary glands is noticed.  Limited contact with housemates is advised. For example, sleeping in a separate room by oneself, if possible, is recommended.

In addition to staying away from others when you have mumps, it is possible to limit the spread of the disease by:

  • Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and putting the used tissue in the trash can. Alternatively, if no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow instead of the hands.
  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Avoiding sharing of drinks or eating utensils
  • Disinfecting frequently touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, tables, and counters

The Health Center is currently communicating with the Adair County Health Department and the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services and is following their recommendations. At this time, a third MMR is not recommended. We will inform the community if that recommendation changes.  Please check the Student Health Center website for updates which will be posted as appropriate (

For more information on mumps, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website at and their Outbreak-Related Q&A site at

For anyone experiencing mumps symptoms, please call the Health Center at 660-785-4182 or your medical provider. (If you are diagnosed by a provider other than the Student Health Center, please contact the Health Center so that we can determine the number of cases on our campus.)  Stay at home in isolation for five days after symptoms begin and do not attend classes, work or social events during the five days you are contagious.  Cover your cough or sneeze and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Brenda Higgins at 660-785-4182.


Dr. Brenda Higgins, APRN-BC, Director
Student Health Center & University Counseling Services