U of Mumps

A diagram of swollen cheeks, a symptom of Mumps. Photo from tarrantcounty.com.

Recently at the University of Minnesota, there has been a Mumps outbreak. Six cases of the Mumps were reported on campus.
Mumps is “an extremely contagious viral infection of the salivary glands that most commonly affects children,” according to Medical News Today. Mumps can be spread most commonly by sneezing or coughing.  The symptoms include a fever, swollen jaw, puffy cheeks, loss of appetite, and headaches.
The older you are the more serious it gets. You have to wait for your immune system to get rid of it, because there is no treatment yet available. To prevent Mumps, the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine is given to most children to make their body immune to the disease.
I first heard about this outbreak from Mrs. Sheehan, my biology teacher. She told the class about the disease when we were learning about viruses. Mrs. Sheehan first heard about the disease on TV while watching the news. She also heard about it from listening to MPR, a news station, on the way to work.
I was surprised because we don’t often hear about these diseases in the United States, but we have been hearing more and more lately about diseases we didn’t think would come back, but we do have more un-vaccinated people in the US due to immigrants and people that are scared of vaccines,” says Mrs. Sheehan.
Mrs. Sheehan has had experience with the disease. She had Mumps when she was five years old on Halloween, and she said she clearly remembers not being able to talk and being very sick. When Mrs. Sheehan got Mumps, they did not have a vaccine for it. At the time, the only vaccine that was available was the polio vaccine.

Photo of the MMR vaccine, from CNN news

 Mumps can be a deadly disease, especially in adults so it is important that everyone works together to prevent it.

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