Important Health Message: Mumps

A few weeks ago, I received my EM from UMKC Student Affairs discussing an apparent mumps outbreak at M.U.  It was fascinating to parse, an exercise in health promotion without offering a low cost option for participation. Here's the text:


Dear UMKC Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Earlier this year, MU reported a number of mumps cases, which have so far been the only reported cases in Missouri.  UMKC has not had any mumps cases reported, but we want to take this opportunity at the beginning of the new semester to review this illness and strategies that each of us can take to maintain a healthy campus.


Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause painful swelling of the salivary glands. The best prevention against mumps is to receive the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine.  The MMR vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the infection.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends individuals receive two doses of the MMR vaccine to protect against the spread of infectious diseases.


Mumps is spread from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing or sneezing.  Symptoms include:  swelling and pain in the jaw (one or both cheeks may look swollen), fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, earache, and sore throat.  It usually takes two to three weeks for symptoms to begin after you have been exposed.  Mumps can be spread from five days before and until five days after the onset of swelling in the salivary glands.  Isolation of mumps patients is recommended for five days after their glands begin to swell.  Although there is no cure for the mumps infection, most people with symptoms typically recover in approximately ten days, though in rare cases serious complications can occur.


If an individual develops mumps, they should remain at home and refrain from attending school/work for five days after their glands begin to swell.  Please communicate with your faculty/supervisor about any need to miss classes/work.  UMKC requires all individuals who develop symptoms that look like mumps to contact UMKC Student Health and Wellness at (816) 235-6133 to report any mumps diagnoses and to discuss symptoms and treatment.



  • All individuals who have not been vaccinated and have never had the mumps infection should receive two doses of the MMR vaccination.  Individuals should have their second MMR dose four weeks (28 days) after the initial vaccination. 
  • UMKC Student Health and Wellness offers the MMR vaccination for $71 per dose for students; faculty and staff should contact your primary care provider.
  • Anyone who has mumps should avoid contact with others.  The CDC recommends isolating mumps patients for five days after their glands begin to swell.
  • If you or anyone else in your household has a weakened immune system or is pregnant and has never had the mumps illness or vaccination, talk with your doctor immediately.
  • Contact UMKC Student Health and Wellness at (816) 235-6133 to report any mumps symptoms or diagnoses.


Please help prevent infectious disease outbreaks on our campus. The actions of each individual student, faculty, and staff member are the most effective method of prevention against mumps and other infectious diseases.  This responsibility of each individual to receive their MMR and other important vaccinations, such as meningitis and influenza, is what maintains a low number of all infectious disease cases and outbreaks.  Please consider receiving the MMR vaccine to help prevent illness and ensure a healthy UMKC campus. 


If you have any further questions or concerns please contact Scott Thompson, UMKC Student Health and Wellness Administrator, at (816) 235-6133 or by e-mail at  You may also contact the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department at (816) 513-6152 for additional information.


Also visit the links below to learn more about the mumps disease and vaccination. 




Mel Tyler

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

 What the Important Health Message doesn't say:

  1. KCMO had quite a measles outbreak in 2014 (actually a significantly more dangerous disease, for some populations, than mumps) and if mumps is in wide circulation, measles (also highly contagious) may be again as well because the MMRV vaccination is a multi-disease combined shot.
  2. All nine or so confirmed cases of mumps to date at M.U. have reportedly been among students able to individually confirm receipt of the CDC-recommended two doses of MMRV (which M.U., apparently, makes a condition of enrollment and UMKC, apparently, does not). Since 5-10% of vaccines don’t take for various reasons, this is not entirely unusual as much as it tells us how much those who ARE vaccinated are at risk. Why? Because Missouri’s  school entry vaccination rate has dropped below 90%, the failure of herd immunity danger zone.

Missouri school entry vaccination entry requirements allow for religious as well as medical exemptions. This problem is not going away any time soon.




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