By Nicole Curcio
A mumps outbreak that originated in Long Beach, just over twenty miles from campus, continues to grow among the young adult population.
On Aug. 1, the Nassau County Department of Health released information about looking further into a sudden outbreak of the virus among young adults in Long Beach around the age of 25 years. According to Healio Infectious Disease News, by Aug. 23 the infected patient count reached 36, which doubled the original amount reported at the start of the month.
Mary Ellen Laurain, spokeswoman for Nassau County Department of Health (DOH), shared with Healio that the Long Beach area is not highly populated once the summer comes to an end. Does that mean all infected summer residents of the area will return to their full time location and expand the range of cases on Long Island?
“It’s not something we can predict,” Laurain said in her interview with Healio. There are precautions that can be taken as the infection is shared through saliva or mucus. By avoiding sharing objects that have contact with your mouth, the risk of expanding the infection may decrease.
According to campus nurse Conni Montalbano, LIU is closely monitoring information from the Nassau DOH. “The best way to prevent the spread of the mumps virus is never to share food, drinks, eating utensils, or any other item that may contain saliva,” Montalbano said. “Symptoms of mumps include swollen cheeks, headache, fever, muscle aches, stiff neck, loss of appetite, and fatigue.”
Senior speech pathology major Gab Dellorusso had no idea that the virus was something to be concerned about. “It’s scary and dangerous,” she said. Dellorusso was surprised the school hadn’t made the student body aware of the outbreak or any precautions that could be taken. “I wish an email would have been sent out. Is there a vaccine?”
The vaccine for mumps is combined with the vaccine for measles and rubella. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended. For vaccination appointments offered at the NYIT Academic Health Care Center, where many of the university’s health services are now provided, contact nurse Montalbano in The Center for Healthy Living, Life Science Room 154, or through extension 3477.