Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mumps at Cal

A ProMed post early last week indicated that the mumps outbreak at Cal is continuing to spread to new individuals - 44 suspected cases in total, 7 of which have already been confirmed by lab results. The outbreak is thought to have originated from one individual who was exposed to the virus in Britain, who thereafter developed mumps and spread it to a number of others at the college campus. Although 2 doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine were previously thought to be sufficient protection against the respective viruses, health officials are recommending a third dose - particularly for the immunocompromised. The university is also encouraging students to wash hands thoroughly and frequently, not share food or drinks, etc.

I find this article interesting because it is an example of just how easily a virus can be spread in a college setting. Dorm life provides a veritable cesspool of infectious possibilities (as evidenced by the number of freshmen who quickly become sick after entering college). Even with hand-washing, omnipresent antibacterial gel, and End-Bac, so many students are still bound to get sick. It really is necessary to be up to date on vaccinations, as well as to take proactive measures for a healthy immune system (sleep, exercise, healthy diet, not sharing cups at parties...) to keep viruses away.

Let's not end up like Cal.

-Elena Higuchi

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