New York

SUNY New Paltz Swim Team Done for Semester as Number of Mumps Cases Rises to 36

What to Know

  • Mumps is highly contagious and is characterized by fever, headache and fatigue, among other symptoms
  • The disease can't be treated and while the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, two doses of the vaccine are the best protection
  • 36 cases of the mumps have been reported at SUNY New Paltz and the outbreak has spread to the high school

Thirty-six cases of the mumps have been confirmed at the State University of New York at New Paltz as of Tuesday, school officials say. 

At least eight members of the swim team and one athletic staff member have come down with the highly contagious respiratory disease, and the university said Tuesday the team would suspend competition for the remainder of the semester on the advice of the New York State Health Department.

The outbreak, first identified in early October, has expanded steadily over the last month and a half. It has also spread to the town's high school, with at least three cases confirmed among student-athletes there. 

Mumps cannot be treated. The most effective preventative measure is immunization, but even that is not 100 percent effective. 

The affected SUNY New Paltz students, who have been immunized against mumps, have been isolated for the recommended period of time. Twenty students who have not been immunized have been sent home until Dec. 23. 

Campus tours and general information sessions will proceed as scheduled, but residence halls home to affected students will be avoided for the time being. 

Meanwhile, the county health department continues to assess possible cases. Nationally, 2016 has seen the most mumps cases reported since 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of early November, 45 states and Washington, D.C., had 2,879 confirmed cases, many of them on college campuses, according to the CDC.   

Mumps is characterized by fever, headache and swelling of the salivary glands. Fatigue, muscle aches and loss of appetite are other possible symptoms. 

After a person is exposed, symptoms usually appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. 

The disease is transmitted by close contact, sharing utensils and drinking glasses and through saliva contact by kissing or other means. Health officials recommend washing hands frequently.

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