LSU says the number of students infected with the mumps has increased to 12, so the university is offering free MMR vaccines to any student who falls under a high-risk group. The high-risk groups include the LSU tennis team, fraternity and sorority members, and musicians in the Tiger Band.
LSU Health New Orleans Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Fred Lopez says the vaccine is crucial because on rare occasions the mumps can lead to severe complications.
“Inflammation of the testicles or the ovaries, or even the pancreas, or even the brain sometimes resulting in deafness or other neurological deficits,” said Lopez.
“High risk” groups also include students who have been in contact with an infected person and students who have not had both of their MMR shots.
Unlike some shots, it takes two rounds for the MMR vaccine to be fully effective. Lopez says getting the vaccines isn’t fool-proof, but it’s close.
“One does of the MMR vaccine renders about 78% effectiveness. Once you get your second dose it’s about 88% protective,” says Lopez.
He adds being vaccinated can also reduce the severity of the virus.
One student has already been quarantined in their on-campus apartment. Lopez says if you feel you’re coming down with flu-like symptoms and are an LSU student, stay away from others, and pick up a phone.
“It is important to recognize in this setting that people recognize what the symptoms are so that if they start to develop them that they can reach out for further direction from their student health or local healthcare provider,” says Lopez.