TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Vigo County’s commissioner of health says when it comes to the Mumps, it’s that swollen face and jaw that tends to be the tell-tale sign.
The Vigo County Health Department sent official word on Monday to Indiana State University that a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology student had recently been diagnosed with Mumps, this after some Indiana State University students attended a party in late January at RHIT.
“We had individuals that were presenting with symptoms of Mumps and we had to go out and investigate. That’s how it started,” said Joni Wise, Vigo County Health Department. “The investigation came straight here to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. That’s where person ‘A’, the primary local victim, was a student.”
The blood test came back that it was a confirmed case of Mumps. Multiple cases after that one with similar symptoms, the six more ‘probable cases’ come in.
The investigation including tracing steps through campus, literally. Anyone else that was epi-linked or linked to that person that presented the same kind of symptoms was considered a case of Mumps also.
“It’s [swollen face/jaw] normally what brings people to the doctor’s office,” said Darren Brucken, M.D., the commissioner who also works as a hospitalist physician at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.
News 10 went to the doctor for insight into the Mumps virus that dates back to the 1870s, that had its ‘hey-day’ in American in the mid 1950s, and rarely makes the news, according to the CDC’s website.
“We don’t expect this to be a large outbreak by any stretch! But we’re trying to put forth measures to keep this on wraps, basically.”
Doctor Brucken says containing the illness is the only real form of treatment which is why the Vigo County Health Department is campaigning hard to reach any college student at Indiana State University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, or Rose-Hulman Institute who might have had contact with this infected student, reportedly a male.
“We’re trying to reach out to those students to make sure that they’ve been vaccinated appropriately, meaning having had two MMR vaccines,” Doctor Brucken shared. “And if someone is symptomatic, we’re trying to put them under wraps as far as contagiousness; so, we’re quarantining them, basically, for a 5-day period once we have glandular swelling.
Brucken said Mumps often resembles flu-like symptoms with body aches and pains, some fever and a headache. He says greater damage to the body is rare.
“It can cause encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain. It can cause death in certain cases, but it’s very, very rare! Most people have a self-limited illness, they get a headache, fever; malaise; they get swollen glands, and then within 10 to 14 days or so, they’re back to normal.”
News 10 confirmed that most of the victims did have the proper immunizations and a RHIT officials confirmed they do require immunization records for all students.
The RHIT official also stated they’re working closely with the health department – as are other schools and colleges locally.