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Student Health Center

Health Alerts

Important Health Alerts and Advisories

Person washing their hands in the sink
The Student Health Center posts relevant health alerts and advisories that may affect the campus community. Feel free to check this page frequently, as advisories can change more often than seasonally.

Suspected Mumps Cases and Mumps-Containing Vaccine

This is an update to the prior memo sent last Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

The DC Department of Health (DOH) has notified us of a new suspected case of Mumps. All but one of the cases involve students who live off campus. The new suspected case is a student who resides in Leonard Hall and has been isolated. Those in close contact with this student have been notified and/or have received guidance from DC DOH.

Of the seven Mumps cases reported at American University, two cases now have laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis (five are classified as probable diagnoses). So far, all affected students have been contacted by DC DOH and were or are being isolated for the recommended five days after their initial symptoms develop.

According to the DOH, "Mumps spreads from person to person via droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person …" We recommend that people take precautions and avoid kissing, sharing drinks or eating utensils. As with many infectious illnesses, frequent hand washing is also an important way to protect yourself because the virus may also be spread indirectly when a person touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and then someone else touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose. The virus typically goes away on its own, however, and patients fully recover.

If you have questions regarding Mumps or are exhibiting any symptoms (fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, accompanied by swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears one or both sides), please contact the Student Health Center at shc@american.edu or by phone at 202-885-3380.

Suspected Mumps Cases and Mumps-Containing Vaccine Memo

Update on Mumps Cases - October 31, 2017

This is an update to the memo sent last Friday, October 27, 2017. The DC Department of Health notified us that a total of five suspected Mumps cases have been reported at American University. So far, all affected students have been isolated for five days after their initial symptoms, in accordance with DC Department of Health guidelines.

The DC Department of Health has contacted the affected students to identify any other potentially affected students who might be at direct risk of contracting mumps.

Mumps is usually spread through contact with saliva, so we recommend that people do not share drinks, food or eating utensils with others over the next few months. As with many infectious illnesses, frequent hand washing is also an important way to prevent it from spreading. The virus typically goes away on its own, however, and patients fully recover.

If you have Mumps symptoms (fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, plus swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears one or both sides), please contact the Student Health Center by phone at 202-885-3380 or via email shc@american.edu.

We have been working with close cooperation with the DC Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on this matter we and encourage you to visit their web sites for additional information.

If you have questions regarding Mumps, please contact the Student Health Center at shc@american.edu or by phone at 202-885-3380.

Update on Mumps Cases Memo

Information About Mumps - October 27, 2017

The DC Department of Health notified us that a suspected Mumps case was recently reported at American University. Mumps is a viral infection that causes fever, swelling or tenderness to one or more salivary glands, usually the parotid gland that is located along the jaw in front of the ear. The virus typically goes away on its own and patients fully recover.

With few exceptions, all students under the age of 26 at American University have received vaccinations against Mumps, so the chance of spreading to fellow students should be minimal. The DC Department of Health has contacted potentially affected students.

Please refer to the DC Department of Health Mumps Fact Sheet, which provides further guidance for minimizing any potential spread of infection. As with many infectious illnesses, frequent hand washing is an important way to prevent spread of the illness.

If you have any questions regarding Mumps, please do not hesitate to contact the Student Health Center at shc@american.edu.

Information About Mumps Memo

Information about Meningitis - October 10, 2017

The DC Department of Health notified us that a graduate student was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is an infection that affects the area surrounding the brain and spinal cord, causing fevers, bad headache, light sensitivity, vomiting, and neck pain/stiffness.

Most students at American University have received vaccinations against meningitis so the chance of spread to fellow students should be minimal. The Department of Health has contacted the affected student, and all close contacts have already been identified and treated. Other casual contacts (such as classmates and professors) are not at risk for contracting meningitis from this student.

As with many infectious illnesses, frequent hand washing is an important way to prevent spread of the illness.

If you have any questions regarding meningitis, please do not hesitate to contact the Student Health Center at shc@american.edu.