At Least 9 Contracted Mumps in Outbreak at Connecticut College: Officials

"The best protection against mumps is to get vaccinated," Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said.

At least nine people have contracted the mumps at a Connecticut college, health officials say.

Sacred Heart University in Fairfield said that eight of the cases were detected on March 22 and that each person who contracted the virus has recovered.

A ninth confirmed patient, a student at another unnamed university in Connecticut, also contracted the highly contagious virus after spending time with a sick student at Sacred Heart.

There were at least nine other people with mumps-like symptoms at the school around that time, state health officials said. 

The state Department of Public Health is urging people across the state at the college to check their vaccination records and be on the lookout for symptoms. 

"With the end of the school semester approaching, and students dispersing to other locations for the summer, it is important for Connecticut residents to take steps to protect themselves against this highly contagious respiratory disease," Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said in a statement. "The best protection against mumps is to get vaccinated.  In a school setting, it is especially important to wash your hands often and avoid sharing items, such as cups and utensils.  If you develop symptoms of mumps, stay home and contact your medical provider for advice."

Mumps is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread through indirect or direct contact with an infected person’s nose or throat droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

It is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes because of inflammation of the salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks, but some people -- particularly adults -- can cause sever complications. 

People with mumps can spread the infection for up to two days before and five days after symptoms develop, so those infected can spread the disease before they feel sick. Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12 to 25 days after infection.  

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