UK now offering free vaccination clinic after campus mumps cases confirmed

Published: Feb. 23, 2016 at 10:13 PM EST
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University of Kentucky health leaders have planned a vaccination clinic to protect students and staff from the mumps, following a cluster of cases on campus.

University Health Services will offer MMR vaccines at a walk-in clinic from 1-3 p.m. Wednesday at the UHS building on South Limestone Street.

Students are asked to bring their student ID and history of immunizations to the clinic. The costs was originally $59 for students who have paid the health fee, and $74 for other students, but now UK officials said the shot will be free.

UHS Director of Nursing Mindy Scott told WKYT's Garrett Wymer that most students got the vaccine as children, but they want to offer it for those who have not, now that health officials have confirmed three cases of mumps on campus.

It is still possible for people who have been vaccinated to get the mumps, but Scott said the most effective way to prevent it is with two does of the MMR vaccine. She urges students to get that second dose or even both doses if they have not gotten it before.

The students who tested positive for mumps had been vaccinated, officials said. Symptoms are typically less severe for those who have gotten the shot.

"Even though mumps is not a life-threatening disease, it is still very contagious," Scott said. "And there are people out there who are immunocompromised and it could be deadly to them."

Students who cannot make it to the clinic can make an appointment with UHS and still get their vaccine that way.

Flu shots will also be available at the clinic, with a cost of $10.

Many students around campus on Tuesday evening said they are not too concerned about the cluster of mumps cases.

"I just don't think it's a big enough thing going on right now that I need to be concerned about it. Plus I already have my vaccine," said Steven Gripshover, a freshman at UK. "I'm making sure I stick around people who aren't sick, if I can help it. And try to keep a healthy diet going. I think if everyone takes care of themselves, then it'll work out."

Vaccination clinic information from UK news release:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2016) ̶ University Health Service (UHS) will offer a special mumps (MMR) vaccination clinic for University of Kentucky students from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24 in the UHS first floor lobby. Flu shots also will be available.

Students are asked to check with their parent or guardian to determine if they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine in the past. If not, or if unconfirmed, it is recommended they receive the vaccine.

Students should bring a student ID as well as a copy (printed or digital) of their immunization history, if it is available. The cost for the MMR vaccine will be $59 for full-time students as part of their health fee and $74 for other students. Flu shots will be available for $10. If you are enrolled in UK's Student Insurance plan, the vaccines are covered and students should bring a printed or digital copy of their insurance card.

The most effective means of mumps prevention is having received two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Last week three students tested positive for the mumps; several other students have exhibited symptoms including swollen salivary glands.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands.

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Email UK sent to students and staff on Friday after mumps cases were confirmed:

Last week, the University of Kentucky's University Health Service (UHS) began seeing a cluster of cases of parotitis (swelling of the salivary glands) within our student population. Today, test results confirmed mumps in three of the initial patients who were tested. Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands.

It is important to know the overwhelming majority of people who contract mumps recover completely. Vaccination for mumps by administration of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is an effective means of prevention; however, mild cases may still occur. At this time, we continue to work with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department as well as the Kentucky Department of Public Health to further investigate this cluster.

Your safety and health, as always, is our top priority at the University of Kentucky. With that, it's critical that we all work together to ensure everyone's health and well-being.

Here are some guidelines to follow, if you have swollen salivary glands:

First, any students who have swollen parotid salivary glands should make an appointment with UHS to be evaluated. Students can go online and make an appointment via the Student Health Link on the My UK portal or by calling 589-323-APPT(2778) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Second, UK faculty and staff who have symptoms of swollen salivary glands should see their local clinician, or if they cannot get an appointment with their regular clinician and have UK HMO, PPO, or EPO they can call for an appointment at UKHPUCC (UK Health Plans Urgent Care clinic) at 859-323-SICK(7425).

Third, if you have any of the symptoms of mumps, avoid prolonged close contact with other people for five days after your salivary glands began to swell. You should not go to work or classes during this period.

Fourth, in addition to staying away from others, you can help prevent the virus from spreading by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, washing hands frequently, and wearing a mask if you have to be around others.

The most effective means of mumps prevention is administering two doses of the MMR vaccine. If you have not previously been vaccinated or if you are unsure if you have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, we are recommending that you get vaccinated. UHS is currently working to procure additional doses of MMR vaccine for administration to students who are not currently up to date. Further communication regarding vaccine availability and administration times will be made available early next week. Vaccination may also be available through your local pediatrician or primary care physician.

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