Health department investigates mumps outbreak at JMU

Credit: Heather Butterworth
Credit: Heather Butterworth

HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Health Department is investigating a mumps outbreak at James Madison University. 

Five staff members and 14 students have tested positive for mumps. Lab results are pending for three other students. The health department also is investigating several additional cases in the region that are apparently unrelated to JMU.

Mumps is an acute viral disease that is transmitted from person to person through direct contact with respiratory droplets spread by coughing and sneezing, or through contact with saliva from an ill person.

People with mumps may have body aches, fever and swollen glands in the jaw. Most people recover from the illness in a week, but serious complications are possible.

To protect yourself from diseases like mumps that are spread through droplet contact, wash your hands frequently, cover your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze and avoid droplet contact with people who are ill. Don’t share cups or utensils and avoid close contact with people who are ill.

The health department is advising students and community members to review their immunization status and contact their healthcare provider to receive vaccines as needed.

People exposed to mumps may not show symptoms for 12 to 25 days, but infected individuals are able to transmit the infection to others up to two days before symptoms appear.