Mumps case confirmed in Omaha is linked to northeast Nebraska wedding; UNO, other colleges alerted | Health

A case of mumps has been confirmed in a resident of the St. John Paul II Newman Center near the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, Omaha Archdiocese officials said Friday.

The center is home to 131 students from several colleges and universities in Omaha. Center officials are working with Douglas County health officials to minimize the potential spread of the viral illness and have contacted the colleges and universities its residents attend, including UNO.

UNO officials notified their students, staff and faculty Friday via email. They referred those with questions or concerns to the Nebraska Medicine-UNO Health Center and to additional information available from the County Health Department.

Dr. Tom Safranek, Nebraska’s state epidemiologist, said the Newman Center resident had attended a wedding in northeast Nebraska where one of two recent outbreaks of the illness had occurred.

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Twenty-nine cases of mumps now are linked to that outbreak, including the original one.

Safranek said health officials had expected additional cases to trickle in, given those who carry the virus are contagious three days before and five days after symptoms begin.

A separate cluster was confirmed earlier around a workplace in the jurisdiction of the Four Corners Health Department, which is west of Lincoln.

Mumps is a highly contagious illness that’s spread by coughing, sneezing and sharing saliva. In 2018, Nebraska had 12 reported cases, according to the State Health Department.

Symptoms include swelling of glands in the face and neck, as well as earaches, jaw pain, testicular pain, fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of complications from the virus.

People with symptoms should avoid public activities and contact a doctor. Those who have had mumps are likely immune from the virus. Those who have been vaccinated are less likely to become infected, but it’s possible.

Tips to prevent mumps include:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Don’t share drinking glasses, eating utensils, water bottles or other things with saliva on them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.