Columbia student confirmed to have mumps

By Tessa Brubaker, News Editor

Steven Nunez
Office of the Registrar, 600 S. Michigan, Dec. 4

A Columbia student was diagnosed with the mumps and has been treated, according to a Dec. 5 email to The Chronicle from Registrar Keri Walters.

A college wide email was sent Nov. 30 from Student Affairs alerting students and staff about the unconfirmed diagnosis. The email stated the student did not live on campus, but was attending class before the diagnosis was made by Student Health.

The email also said because two Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccinations are required for registration, it is unlikely the illness was spread to the rest of the Columbia community. If a student suspects that they have the mumps, they should visit Student Health, the email stated.

The News Office denied an interview with Walters, who instead sent an email statement to The Chronicle.

“Once a student confirms their intention to enroll by submitting a deposit, the college notifies the student of immunization requirements as listed under state law,” according to an email Walters sent to the Chronicle on Dec. 5.

“We continue to notify students who do not meet the immunization requirement until we have determined that they are in compliance. If a student is not in compliance with the State of Illinois’ immunization requirements by week six of the semester in which the student entered the college, the college places an immunization hold on the student’s account which does not allow the student to register for the subsequent semester—until they are found to be in compliance,” the email read.

But that means that a student could be on campus for up to a semester without having received the vaccination that prevents the mumps.

Mumps is a contagious disease that causes headache, fever, tiredness and swollen salivary glands. It is preventible with vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection.

There has been an increase of reported mumps cases since 2000, according to the CDC. 229 cases of mumps were reported in 2012 compared to 6,366 cases in 2016. The document says most increases are a result of outbreaks happening in places where people are close together, like a college campus. Other colleges such as Loyola University Chicago and Lewis University have recently reported a mumps outbreak on their campuses, according to a Dec. 5 Chicago Sun-Times article.

Story developments to come.