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Mumps outbreak at Univ. Calif., Berkeley

  |   Oct. 5, 2011 at 11:19 PM
BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Free vaccinations are available at the campuses of the University of California, Berkeley, after several students came down with mumps, campus officials say.

Six people at Berkeley have been confirmed to have mumps and 13 are being tested for mumps, the Contra Costa Times reported.

University Health Services and Berkeley's public health division said they were working closely with the California Department of Public Health to limit spread of the disease.

"We recommend vaccination for those who are not certain they have received two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine," a UC Berkeley statement said. "Some people may still be susceptible to mumps after receiving two recommended doses of vaccine -- one when children are ages 12-15 months and a second at ages 4-6 -- and there is good evidence that an additional third dose of MMR may be helpful in stopping mumps outbreaks. We strongly encourage all UC students, faculty and staff, regardless of vaccination status, to receive an additional dose of MMR. However, MMR vaccine is not appropriate for pregnant women or for individuals with weakened immune systems. Anyone born in 1956 or earlier does not need a vaccination."

For the next three to four weeks, university officials caution the public to be alert for symptoms of mumps including fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite, swollen or tender salivary glands under the ears, jaw or under the tongue, on one or both sides of the face. Antibiotics do not treat mumps.

If symptoms develop, do not attend classes or work for five days after the onset of symptoms, officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said most recover from mumps fully, but some develop complications including:

-- Inflammation of the testicles, which can lead to sterility.

-- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and spinal cord (meningitis).

-- Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts in females.

-- Temporary or permanent deafness.

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