The University of Central Arkansas confirmed Tuesday that four possible mump cases were under investigation at the school.
Dr. Randy Pastor, the medical director at the Student Health Center at UCA, said three students went into the medical center with swelling on the side of their faces Friday.
“That’s when we became concerned that maybe [we were] starting to see mumps on campus,” he said.
Pastor said there was an additional case Monday, but none of the four have been confirmed as mumps yet.
He said all four students lived off campus, but weren’t related incidents.
The Arkansas Department of Health’s website reports a total of 1,240 cases that are under investigation and, as of Nov. 14, Pulaski County was included.
“I think they are concerned it’s going to spread because it has been spreading since August in Arkansas,” Pastor said.
Pastor said with the new cases in Pulaski County, he thinks the health department, which has 841 cases involving children ages 5-17, is assuming cases in Faulkner County might pop up due to the proximity and age group of students.
“We’re trying to keep the UCA community updated in real time about what’s happening,” he said.
Pastor said UCA sent out an email to its students and posted informational links on its Facebook page regarding the incidents Monday.
“While there are no confirmed cases of mumps at this time, it is important to remain aware,” the Facebook post read.
Pastor said they are always concerned when there is a potential health risk to the campus population, but are confident they can keep it controlled by working with the health department.
He said he recommends students read up and educate themselves on mump symptoms and advised anyone who hasn’t had the proper immunization vaccines to get them.
“The far majority of our population has received two MMRs,” he said, which would help in the case of an outbreak.
Pastor said they are looking at how to go about the issue if the cases are confirmed, including students being on campus.
“We know that if someone was exposed, it’s going to be at least 12 days before they become contagious,” he said.
The downside of the cases occurring at the end of the semester, Pastor said, is if they are infected and they go home to other parts of the state, the disease could spread. He said if the ADH confirms the incidents, it would start compiling a list of close contacts around each infected person to try and track where the mumps originated.
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