As the winter chill is replaced with spring sun, the possibility of illness is still prevalent, as the University of Oregon Health Center confirmed a case of mumps on campus in late March.

The infected student contracted mumps off-campus and has since been cleared of the illness.  Though campus appears to be clear of mumps, there have been several other reports of mumps in the community within the last few weeks, according to the Lane County Public Health Department website.

Mumps is a contagious disease spread by contact with contaminated items, coughing, sneezing or unwashed hands. Symptoms can range from tiredness and loss of appetite to swelling of the salivary glands, located under the ears.

Dr. Richard Brunader of the UO Health Center said the issue identifying mumps symptoms is that they generally do not surface until two days after the initial infection. Such symptoms include a headache, muscle aches, fever, loss of appetite and swelling of the glands below the ears.

Most illnesses spread in groups, so he recommends that people take extra precautions when in large groups in condensed areas, no matter if a person claims to be healthy or not.  To avoid infection of any kind, students should avoid sharing drinks, being in close contact with someone who is not feeling well and should wash their hands as frequently as possible.

“Initially it can feel like you just don’t feel well because it’s nothing specific,” said Brunader. “If you have concerning symptoms, please let us know.”

A child displaying swollen salivary glands from mumps. (Creative Commons)

Though mumps may no longer be a pressing threat on UO’s campus, Brunader urges students to watch their general health as the season changes.

“Springtime is coming, so people start having problems with asthma and hayfever,” Brunader said. He cautions people to ensure their inhalers are not empty, which he says is a common problem of his patients.

Visit the health center for an examination or to inquire about how to ensure a healthy spring term.