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UL Student Health Centre issues advice to take against mumps and flu risks

Due to increased mumps activity on University of Limerick campus, the Student Health Centre has issued advice on Wednesday afternoon for students.

In an email sent campus-wide, Clinical Nurse Manager Claire Kearns said that there has been a number of mumps cases on college campuses in Ireland and this is due to a possibility of a low uptake of the relevant vaccine in the 1990s.

“Uptake of the MMR vaccine dropped to a level that was inadequate to provide herd immunity, resulting in the re-emergence of mumps in teenagers and young adults over the past 10-15 years.”

Mumps, a viral infection, usually presents itself initially through symptoms such as a swelling of salivary glands in the neck.

The advice for dealing with mumps issued by the Student Health Centre is as follows:

1. If you believe you might have mumps, do not attend classes, lectures, tutorials or labs. You may infect a number of other people if you are infectious.

2. Remain away from campus and preferably remain isolated from others, for whatever period of time the healthcare professional has advised, 5 days generally from onset of symptoms.

You are infectious usually from about 4 days before to 5 days after facial swelling (parotid gland swells on one or both sides of the face). Individuals are advised not to attend for 5 days after parotid swelling in view of the possibility of transmitting virus to non-immune individuals.

3. Ensure you have had at least 2 MMR doses in your lifetime. This is the most effective way to protect yourself. It is not 100% effective and you may still contract mumps occasionally even if you are fully vaccinated. The illness is usually milder in those who have been vaccinated.

4. If you have been in close contact (e.g. flat-mate or tutorial room) with someone who has had mumps, you can lessen the chances (or the severity) of contracting mumps by getting an MMR vaccine, even after the contact has occurred. 

Also appearing in the announcement is a warning about the risk of flu.

We appear to have passed the peak of the 2018-2019 Influenza season, however, there is still an influenza virus circulating in the community,” the announcement continues.

“That means there is still a risk and still time for you to protect yourself by availing of the influenza vaccine. The influenza vaccine is available in GP surgeries and some pharmacies.”

This announcement comes two weeks after UL issued an initial warning about mumps cases on campus.

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