University warns students about Cal mumps outbreak

There has been an outbreak of mumps, a viral disease that causes intense swelling of the salivary glands, at UC Berkeley, according to a schoolwide email sent Tuesday night  by Lawrence Neinstein, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine.

The disease is transmitted through respiratory droplets, Neinstein said in the email. The disease can be spread through the sharing of drinks, cigarettes and towels.

UC Berkley has 15 confirmed and 15 suspected cases of the mumps, according to The Daily Californian.

The outbreak began when a student was exposed to the disease while in Great Britain. When he returned to UC Berkeley, he developed symptoms and it spread to other students, according to The Daily Californian.

To prevent contracting the disease, the University Park Health Center advises students to regularly wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill.

Half of people infected with the mumps have very mild or no symptoms, so they might not know they are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease has a 12- to 25-day incubation period.

USC requires all students to receive two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. The health center strongly advises students who have not yet received the vaccination to get one at the health center before traveling to UC Berkeley.

Past outbreaks, however, have revealed half of all mumps patients received two doses of the vaccine before contracting the disease, according to The Daily Californian.

Other symptoms of the mumps include mild swelling of testicles and loss of voice.