23 mumps cases linked with Midland University

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 19:29:38-04
A mumps virus infection at Camp Carol Joy Holling in Ashland is related to the mumps outbreak at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska health officials say.
Now the camp is requiring booster shots from every incoming camper and staff member for the rest of 2016.
That’s not enough to stop the mumps outbreak.  
There are 23 cases of mumps linked to Midland University.
Two new cases were recently diagnosed and there is another suspected case. 
The viral infection is relatively rare, about 20,000 are diagnosed per year in the U.S.
It is highly contagious.
Nearly everyone who catches mumps does not require hospitalization. 
Terra Uhing is the health director for the Three Rivers Health Department, recording 17 cases in the last month across Dodge, Saunders and Washington counties.
"I don't want, out of the 77,000 people residing inside my jurisdiction, I don't want to have to be immunizing, vaccinating, treating or doing an investigation because our outbreak has gotten so big,” Uhing said. “That's why we're really doing this to be more proactive to contain it." 
Uhing says the staff member at Camp Joy Holling who contracted mumps is quarantined at home. 
All staff members were tested, all but one was cleared.
That person is at home awaiting test results.
The camp is taking extra precautions to prevent mumps from spreading through summer activities.
 (Casey Fuerst, camp spokeswoman)
"We don't feel like our campers are at danger for this, and if we did, we would not be holding camp,” said Casey Fuerst, Camp Joy spokeswoman. 
While the camp is working with local health officials to stop mumps, not everyone in the area is.
That’s why, Uhing says, everyone needs to help stop the outbreak from spreading.
Common symptoms include a swollen or painful throat and fever.
"Just know what you're looking for and make sure you're aware.” Uhing said. “And if you don't know about your immunization status…. Go and get a booster."
Basic hygiene practices like covering your mouth when you cough; washing your hands and sanitizing your workplace can prevent infection and the spread of mumps.
Health officials recommend college students to avoid sharing utensils with one another, like cups and dishes.