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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-7008

No new cases since November

Berkeley, California (Monday, March 05, 2012) - The City of Berkeley’s Public Health Officer has determined that the outbreak of mumps, which started afflicting Berkeley residents last September, appears to be over. More than three months have passed since the last positive case of mumps.

“It has been more than two incubation periods since the last mumps patient, which gives us confidence that the cycle of infection for this outbreak has been successfully disrupted,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, MD, MPH. “Mumps outbreaks in other college campuses have lasted many months and involved hundreds of cases. We are fortunate that this outbreak was contained.”

A total of 29 people were confirmed to have contracted the mumps virus. All of the patients were associated with the University of California, Berkeley, and there were no cases of mumps beyond the student population. Most infected students also lived or spent time in high-density housing.

The City of Berkeley’s Public Health Division worked closely with University Health Services,Tang Center staff at UC Berkeley and state health officials to respond to this outbreak. “The highly-coordinated teamwork and concentration on prevention strategies were key to limiting the spread of the outbreak and keeping our students in class,” said University Health Services’ medical director, Dr. Brad Buchman.

Steps taken included:

  • Epidemiological study of the disease, to trace its origins;
    Aggressive educational outreach to students about the risks and symptoms of the disease;
  • Mass vaccination clinics, which provided more than 4,000 doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine to UC students and staff;
  • Health alerts to local health care providers to inform them of the presence of the disease in the community and encourage them to test for mumps and report all cases to the health department;
  • Interviewing those diagnosed with mumps, in order to follow up on where they may have been exposed and have exposed others;
  • Monitoring reports of mumps in Berkeley and in neighboring health jurisdictions, to assess the spread of disease.

This outbreak appears to have originated with an unvaccinated individual who was exposed to mumps during international travel. 

“We’re certainly relieved that mumps is no longer going around, but it is still cold and flu season,” Dr. Berreman said. “It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine, and the habits that we all practiced last fall are still essential to maintaining good health: wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home if you’re sick.”

University Health Services medical officials agree, and urge the campus community to regularly update their vaccine status, as vaccination is an important public health practice to keep the campus healthy.

Mumps background: Mumps is a viral infection that is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from an infected person. It typically causes swelling of the salivary glands. Although it is not considered life-threatening, mumps can cause complications and outbreaks are matters of public health concern. The best protection against mumps is the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella). 

University of California, Berkeley, media contact: Kim Jarboe LaPean, University Health Services, Tang Center: (510) 643-3920 or klapean@berkeley.edu

City of Berkeley, Public Health Division, media contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, PIO: (510) 981-7008 or mclunies-ross@cityofberkeley.info.


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