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UW-La Crosse Confirms 3 Mumps Cases

Wisconsin, 41 Other States Have Already Reported Outbreaks This Year


Health officials at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have confirmed three mumps cases this week.

This the third outbreak of mumps at a Wisconsin university this year, with seven cases confirmed at Marquette University and 23 cases confirmed at UW-Platteville.

Dr. Kristin Swanson from the UWL Student Health Center said small outbreaks of mumps on college campuses are fairly common.

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“Whenever you have a group of people living in close quarters, it’s easier for a viral illness such as this to spread,” Swanson said.

Swanson said all three students had received the mumps vaccine, which is only 80-90 percent effective at preventing infection.

But Wisconsin isn’t the only state seeing more cases of the mumps this year

Almost 2,000 cases of the mumps in 42 states have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since Jan. 1.

The increased prevalence is a concern for some public health professionals.

“We have the same questions that the general public has regarding this: Why are we having so many cases, where are the cases coming from and why this year?” said Joann Foellmi, public health nurse at the La Crosse County Health Department.

While the mumps vaccine does not totally prevent infection, Foellmi said it does significantly decrease the severity of the infection and potential side effects.

“It’s the complications that can be the most painful to people,” Foellmi said.

Side effects from mumps can include deafness, meningitis, encephalitis and in extreme cases infertility.