Health Alerts

Free Measles/Mumps/Rubella Immunizations

The Student Health Center, in collaboration and with assistance of the Adair County Health Department, will be providing 400 FREE MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) IMMUNIZATIONS on a first-come/first-serve basis on Thursday, March 30. The clinic will be held in Georgian Room B of the Student Union Building, from 10 am to 5 pm. No appointment is necessary but students are asked to bring their student IDs to confirm their student status.

The Student Health Center reports 20 cases of known mumps disease among our student population this semester. Most were diagnosed at the Student Health Center but a few were also diagnosed by their home physician or a local health care provider. All but one had previously received the recommended 2 childhood doses of MMR. Individuals who have not been adequately vaccinated with 2 mumps vaccinations are at the highest risk of getting mumps, but due to the current cases, individuals with 2 vaccines are still eligible to receive the vaccine on March 30, 2017.

Students with chronic diseases should contact their personal healthcare provider to determine whether a 3rd MMR is recommended.

Questions can be answered on-site at the MMR Clinic or by calling the Student Health Center at 660-785-4182.



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

Influenza Information

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

With widespread influenza activity in MO currently, the Student Health Center would like to provide some suggestions to keep our campus healthy and prevent an onslaught of flu cases on campus.  Remember, influenza is a contagious viral respiratory disease characterized by abrupt onset of fever, body aches, and cough or sore throat. Some individuals may experience headache, chills, fatigue, and runny or stuffy nose as well.

Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, we recommend that our community members take these precautions:

  1. If you haven’t already, get a flu shot. The Student Health Center currently has a limited supply of vaccine still available for students. Additionally, the Adair County Health Department provides flu shots to Adair Co. residents from 8-4 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Some local pharmacies and medical providers also provide the immunizations. Due to increased demand, many sources are running low or are currently out of stock, so it would be wise to call and confirm availability before you go.
  2. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces such as door handles. Coughing or sneezing into one’s elbow (“cough pocket”) is preferred to coughing into one’s hands.  If you must cough or sneeze into your hands, do so using a tissue which you dispose of in a designated waste container.
  3. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Students and university employees with flu symptoms should stay home from classes or work.  Ill individuals should limit contact with others who are not sick. Students with flu-like symptoms should not return to class until they no longer have a fever (temperature of less than 100.5 F) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. They should email their professors as soon as possible and let them know they have the flu. We hope faculty and university supervisors will exercise liberal absence policies during this time when flu cases are on the rise in Missouri.
  4. Individuals should seek medical attention if they have acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or sore throat with a fever of more than 100.5 F. Antiviral medication for influenza should be taken within two days of symptom onset. If this is not possible, symptomatic treatment for fever, cough or sore throat is advised. If one becomes sicker even after being treated and on medication for several days, they should be rechecked to ensure they have not developed a secondary infection, such as pneumonia. Those with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, should immediately notify their health care provider if they have flu symptoms.

Our goal is for all of our students, faculty and staff to have a productive and healthy semester.  Following the tips above can help ensure that is possible.

Yours in good health,

The Student Health Center Staff


Zika Virus

Students, Faculty and Staff,

With midterm break in our upcoming future, the Health Center wanted to provide you with information regarding the Zika virus in the event that you might have plans to travel to one of the areas affected.  Popular spring break travel sites in Mexico and the Caribbean are currently impacted, as are many countries in South and Central America, the Pacific Islands and Cape Verde.  Cases in the United States have been reported as well, but most have been travel-associated.  For the latest Zika Travel Information, please visit as the information is regularly updated.

The most common symptoms of Zika disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).  Symptoms typically begin 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness is usually quite mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Most people do not get sick enough to go to the hospital, and deaths due to Zika are rare. In fact, only about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick; thus, many people do not even realize they have been infected.

Zika disease is transmitted by the Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Steps to prevent mosquito bites can be found at

In addition, it is now believed that the Zika virus can be spread through sexual contact by a man to his sex partners, though it is not yet known how long the virus is present in the semen of men who have had Zika or if it can be transmitted by infected men who never develop symptoms of the disease.

There appears to be a link between the Zika virus and serious birth defects that result in brain and cranium abnormalities in infants. Therefore, any male who has visited a Zika affected country should refrain from, or use condoms for, all sexual contact with women to prevent spreading the virus to a female partner who is pregnant or could potentially become pregnant.  Women who are pregnant are advised against having sex with a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. When travel to these areas cannot be avoided or postponed, strict steps to prevent mosquito bites should be taken.

Human-to-mosquito-to-human transmission has been noted in the U.S. For that reason, anyone who returns to the U.S. from a Zika-affected country should continue to take precautions against mosquito bites after return to U.S. to prevent outbreaks in the U.S.

College health medical professionals are on alert for symptoms of Zika (as well as other mosquito-transmitted illnesses) in their patient populations, and are reviewing travel histories with patients presenting with Zika-like symptoms.

We want your spring break to be a safe one.  Please take the usual precautions we advise in regard to use of sun screen, limiting alcohol intake, safe sex, and now, Zika-prevention.


Dr. Brenda Higgins, Director
Family Nurse Practitioner

Outbreak of Mumps

Dear Truman incoming and returning students,

In our continuing efforts to keep our community safe, we are sending you this notice regarding an outbreak of mumps at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). Currently, five students have been confirmed with the disease. Truman does not require vaccination for mumps, but since we require measles vaccination, most students have received mumps vaccine in the combined MMR vaccine. Unfortunately, public reports indicate that the students with mumps on the Columbia campus had all been vaccinated.

Our recommendation to you at this time is to review your vaccination records and make sure you were vaccinated twice for measles-mumps-rubella, either in the combined MMR vaccine or the individual components. You may want to speak to your personal physician as to whether he/she recommends a booster at this time due to the current situation at MU. At this time, no cases of mumps have been reported on Truman’s campus.

Information regarding mumps can be found at: Additional information may be found at:

We are looking forward to you coming back to school in August!

Brenda Higgins, EdD, MSN, APRN-BC

University Preparation regarding Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Truman State University Student Health is currently monitoring the Ebola outbreaks in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria through vigilant attention to CDC updates and advisories, any available guidance from the American College Health Association and coordination with the Missouri Department of Health and Truman’s Center for International Education.

Any international student arriving to attend Truman who is identified as having a high fever will be screened, and when appropriate, transported directly to the local emergency room for evaluation. Any suspected case of Ebola (though unlikely) would be isolated and treated as per Department of Health guidelines.

Ebola Facts

What is Ebola?
Ebola is a severe, often fatal, hemorrhagic disease caused by a viral infection.

How is it transmitted?
The Ebola infection in humans is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of a sick, infected person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The greatest danger of infection is to health care workers or family members who come in contact with infectious bodily fluids when caring for ill patients or family members. Unlike influenza, Ebola is not transmitted through respiratory secretions. In fact, transmission is much more similar to the transmission of HIV/AIDs or Hepatitis C (through contact with infectious blood or body fluids).

What are the symptoms?
When infection with Ebolavirus occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. Symptoms may mimic severe flu, and include high fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Some individuals may have coughs, sore throats, chest pain, red eyes, rashes and hiccups. Progression of the disease can result in difficulty breathing and swallowing and bleeding inside and outside of the body.

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebolavirus, though 8-10 days is most common.

Some who become sick with Ebola HF are able to recover, while others do not. The reasons behind this are not yet fully understood. However, it is known that patients who die usually have not developed a significant immune response to the virus at the time of death.

What is the University doing to ensure my student’s safety in light of this international outbreak?
Any newly-arriving international student with a high fever will be screened, and when appropriate, transported directly to the local emergency room for evaluation. Any student identified by the Emergency Room as a potentially Ebola-infected student will be isolated and treated as per Health Department guidance.

Health Center staff will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate any high-risk students (those who have studied or traveled abroad in Ebola outbreak countries who have had contact with sick individuals) and will isolate and refer for emergency evaluation as appropriate.

Where can I continue to get accurate, up-to-date information?

The Centers for Disease Control continuously update their website ( to reflect the most current knowledge regarding Ebola, including newly identified cases and any travel restrictions and advice.