FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has confirmed three cases of mumps and is testing a fourth potential case, just two years after the end of an outbreak in the state that involved thousands of cases of the illness, the Arkansas Health Department said.
All three students have recovered, but officials are waiting for test results on the fourth suspected case, university spokesman Zac Brown told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette .
The first case was discovered near the end of January, Brown said. Students who tested positive for mumps were removed from classes while they were contagious and were isolated, he said.
The disease is typically mild in children but can be more serious in adults, the Health Department said. Symptoms include painful and swollen salivary glands that can cause puffy cheeks and jaws. Symptoms usually subside within weeks, but mumps can cause deafness and inflammation of the brain.
Mumps is spread through coughing, sneezing or contact with saliva. Department officials are encouraging students and staff members who may have come in contact with the disease to get vaccinated. There is no treatment for the illness.
State law requires children to be vaccinated for mumps before attending school, but exemptions are available for medical, religious and philosophical reasons.
The state had a mumps outbreak in 2016 and 2017 with nearly 3,000 cases, which was “the second-largest mumps outbreak in the United States in the last 30 years,” the Health Department said. Arkansas typically has fewer than 10 cases of mumps a year, the department said.