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IU Mumps Outbreak Hits 20 Cases

IU campus

Officials say most of the sick students had been vaccinated against the virus. (Steve Burns, WFIU/WTIU News)

Indiana University officials say they are working to control a quickly-growing outbreak of the mumps on the Bloomington campus.

The outbreak started in February and there are now 20 confirmed cases.

IU Health Center Medical Director Beth Rupp says seven of the infected students live on campus and most of the patients already had two doses of the MMR vaccine.

"It’s only about 88 percent protective, so even with 2 MMRs that’s our best protection, but it can't protect 100 percent," Rupp says. "And then you have a lot of your people living in a lot of small areas where a lot of germs are spread."

Since 2016 IU Bloomington has required students to have documentation of immunization records, which include two, age-appropriate doeses of MMR.

In 2016 there was an outbreak of 74 cases and in 2017 there were 17 cases.

Graham McKeen is the Public Health Manager at IU Bloomington. He says the noticeable growth in the number of mumps cases over the last five years could be due to a number of factors.

"Some of that has to do with introductions from vaccine skeptics domestically, international travelers that are bringing it to the U.S., or are letting it spur within the U.S. and then it's circulating amongst those that are protected,” McKeen says. 

The university has issued public safety advisories via email to all students with updated case counts and protocol for preventing the spread of the illness.

IU Health center officials say cases have been reported in more than one dorm, but they aren’t disclosing which ones. The university says it’s alerted students who may be in close proximity to a case.

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