Tests confirm case of mumps at Calvin College

Posted at 3:51 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 22:20:39-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) confirms a Calvin College student tested positive for the mumps virus. The confirmation came back from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Friday.

Another student at the college showing symptoms was tested Friday for the mumps. Those results won't be available till next week.

"Our hope is that even more of them will be vaccinated in the next day or so," said Sarah Visser, the V.P. of student life at Calvin College. "For those who are unable or unwilling to get vaccinated, we are working with them to find a way to isolate them. And have them complete the semester."

Three other cases had been identified in past weeks, but tests either came back negative or inconclusive for mumps.

KCHD said there are about 16  students at Calvin not vaccinated and they are being strongly encouraged to get vaccinations.  The college is offering vaccinations to those students.

"People who do not have the vaccination, they should stay away from public gatherings for 12 to 25 days, "said Brian Hartl, an Epidemiologist with the Kent County Health Department.

For students who choose to not get the vaccination, they are recommended to stay off campus and not participate in any campus activities.  With the end of the semester right around the corner, school officials say they will allow students who don't have the mumps vaccine to take their finals. They will have to do so in an isolated area away from other students.

Mumps is highly contagious, but is preventable with a vaccine.  It is spread through saliva and can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, sharing drinks or utensils or even talking with an infected person.  Mumps also causes puffy cheeks.  Sufferers also get a fever, headache and muscle aches.