President Andrew T. Hsu sent the following message to the College of Charleston community on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019:
Dear Campus Community:
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday and prepare for the remaining weeks of the fall semester, I’m writing to provide an update on the ongoing mumps outbreak on campus and to ask for your help in stopping the spread of this contagious illness.
Since the outbreak was announced on September 23, 2019, we have had a total of 43 confirmed mumps cases among members of our campus community, the vast majority of which are now no longer infectious.
While these new positive cases are not unexpected, my administration and I continue to take this public health threat extremely seriously. And you should, too. Based on what we’ve learned from health officials and from past outbreaks in other communities, additional cases are likely and prevention measures are needed to stop the spread of mumps.
The College remains on its normal operating schedule and there are no plans to alter class/activity schedules or close campus due to this outbreak. We will get through this together. In the meantime, every member of our campus community can and should take steps to safeguard themselves and others against mumps. Below are five things you can do to help:
1.GET VACCINATED: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now recommending an additional dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine especially for students involved in fraternity and sorority activities, due to known risks factors inherent in this population. A targeted vaccine clinic will be held on campus early next week for fraternity and sorority members and for those students associated with the fraternity and sorority community. However, the clinic will be open to all students, faculty and staff. More details to follow.
2. PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE: Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing; do not share food, drinks, eating utensils, cigarettes or vaping devices; and avoid activities that may result in saliva exposure. Wash your hands frequently; clean and disinfect surfaces.
3.SELF-ISOLATE: If you have symptoms of mumps or are awaiting the results of a mumps test, take responsible measures to prevent the spread of mumps and stay away from others for five days. That means no class, no campus events, no parties, and no sports.
4.MONITOR YOUR HEALTH: If you have had close contact with someone symptomatic with the mumps, monitor yourself for possible symptoms. A list of symptoms can be found here.
5.BE VIGILANT: The spread of mumps commonly occurs in social settings, such as parties. If you plan on attending parties or events where you will be in close proximity to other people, be vigilant about your hygiene habits and those of others.
In the coming days and weeks, you will see the above tips posted on fliers around campus and shared on College social media. I encourage everyone to follow and share these messages. In addition, health professionals from Student Health Services will be available to answer questions from students about the mumps outbreak from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on November 18 in the lobby of the Stern Student Center.
We all know that this is a particularly busy time of year, with travel, get-togethers with family and friends, and preparation for final exams. We don’t want anyone to be dealing with a case of the mumps during what should be a joyous and exciting holiday season. So please do your part to keep our campus community healthy.
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.