Trinity warns of spike in number of mumps cases in College

The health service expects further infections in the coming weeks due to the long incubation period of the virus

The College Health Service has warned that there has been an increase in the number of cases of Mumps in Trinity. In an email sent to all staff and students, the health service director, Dr David McGrath said that there has been a “spike in cases” across the college and advised that students take the necessary preventative measures. The College Health Service also expects to see more cases over the next few weeks due to the long incubation period of the virus. 

The email advises students to ensure they have the necessary 2x MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccines and to have a booster if necessary. This is generally administered to young children, and the HSE recommends that older children and young adults who have not completed their two dose MMR vaccination schedule should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The spike in Trinity follows a general increase in cases nationwide, with 69 reported to HSPC in September. Nearly half of these cases were in the HSE east region. The 15-24 year age group is most at risk, accounting for 58.5% of cases in the year to September. 

Other third level institutions including UCD, DCU, and TUD have issued similar mumps warnings to students in recent weeks, advising them to contact their GP or college health service if they believe they have the disease.

The symptoms of mumps usually develop 14-25 days after infection, with the most common being the swelling of the parotid glands, located just below the ears. This leads to pain and tenderness in the swollen area, as well as pain on swallowing and/or difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms may include: Headaches, joint pain, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, dry mouth, high temperature, and inflammation of the ovaries or testicles. It is generally a minor illness, with only 4% of cases resulting in hospitalisation this year, but severe complications can arise. 

A similar email was sent to all staff and students in February, after the HSE warned the college of a general increase in cases. Overall, the number of cases of mumps has more than tripled in 2019, with 1,765 reported in the year to September, compared to 575 in 2018.

Today’s email also notified students that they could avail of the flu vaccine from the College Health service. It was particularly recommended that patients suffering from Asthma, Chronic Chest Conditions, Diabetes, Heart Problems, or Kidney Failure. The vaccine costs €15 for students and €20 for staff, and those wishing to book an appointment can contact the health service on 896-1551-1591.

Patrick Coyle

Patrick Coyle is a News Analysis Editor for Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister student of English Literature and Spanish.