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NYS DOH Release

Press release sent Friday, Dec. 9 2016
- Updated Dec. 13 2016 - 

NYS Department of Health, SUNY New Paltz and Ulster County Health Department to Hold Mumps Vaccine Clinic on Campus

Students will Receive Vaccine Free-of-Charge

In response to the mumps outbreak on the SUNY New Paltz campus, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) together with the Ulster County Health Department and SUNY New Paltz, will hold a vaccination clinic on Tuesday, December 13, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesday, December 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Student Union.  Registration is available through my.newpaltz.edu.

There have been 69 confirmed or probable cases of mumps associated with SUNY New Paltz reported to NYSDOH since October with more under investigation. NYSDOH and the Ulster County Health Department have been providing technical assistance and guidance to the College in response to the outbreak, and NYSDOH’s Wadsworth Laboratory has assisted in laboratory testing of reported and suspected cases.

NYSDOH is recommending that students receive a third dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, will provide it free of charge to the college, and will assist with staffing and running the clinic.

“There is increasing evidence that a third dose of the MMR vaccine will help raise immunity among the students who have not yet been exposed, and help prevent the further spread of mumps on the campus,” said NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.  “We are also urging students to wash their hands regularly, avoid contact with people who may be sick, and immediately notify their healthcare provider if they suspect they are sick. Students who are ill should stay home from classes and social events.”

“We are grateful for the coordinated effort from the Ulster County Health Department and the New York State Health Department to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff at SUNY New Paltz,” said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian.

The MMR vaccine is safe, but its effectiveness can decrease over time. Two doses of MMR vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing mumps. It is a live virus vaccine and is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with a weakened immune system. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps after one vaccination. However, adults born in 1957 or later, who are students in a post-secondary educational institution, work in a health care facility, or plan to travel internationally, are already recommended to have a second dose.  

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidelines for use of a third dose as a control measure during mumps outbreaks in settings in which people are in close contact with one another, where transmission is sustained despite high 2-dose MMR coverage, and when traditional control measures do not slow transmission. All these conditions exist at SUNY New Paltz.

Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious complications, including deafness and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), inflammation of the testes, ovaries and breasts, and spontaneous fetal death in pregnant women.  Mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. It is best known for causing painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. There is no treatment, and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks.

Statewide, there have been 147 confirmed or probable cases of mumps reported to NYSDOH to-date in 2016, compared with 24 in all of 2015. (This is the highest mumps case count since 2010, when  NYSDOH reported 663 cases, most of which were related to a very large outbreak in downstate NY).  Most of the cases this year have been associated with outbreaks on college campuses. Several other states have also reported college outbreaks over the past year.

Health and college officials will provide a media briefing on Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 208 of the Student Union (outside the vaccination clinic).