SDSU students advised to be up-to-date on immunizations amid mumps outbreak

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SAN DIEGO — After a small outbreak of mumps cases involving San Diego State University students earlier this week, county health officials are warning about how contagious the virus can be and reminding that it’s best to be up-to-date with your immunizations.

The county health department is currently managing six cases of the mumps that emerged this week, calling it a cluster outbreak.

“The very large number of cases that occurred in northern Baja California, I am sure is connected to the increased number of cases that we have here,” said Eric McDonald, medical director of epidemiology and immunization services.

All six recent cases involve SDSU students who live at an off campus apartment complex, BLVD 63.

There have been about 10 cases of the mumps total in San Diego since the start of 2020 and 66 in 2019. In Baja California, those numbers skyrocketed, with nearly 150 cases since the start of the year and about 900 in 2019.

Two doses of the measles mumps and rubella or MMR vaccine are typically given to young children, but whether you’ve been immunized, partially immunized or not at all, you’re still at risk.

“The problem is that the mumps portion of the vaccine tends to decrease in effectiveness over time. Because it is so contagious even though you might have 80% effectiveness in a population that’s not enough to stop cases from occurring because it’s so contagious,” said McDonald.

Health officials say four of the six recent cases had received the vaccine at some point in their medical history. If you are immunized and get the mumps, you likely won’t be quite as sick.

For now, those six students are in self-isolation and haven’t needed to be admitted to the hospital.

Doctors are recommending all SDSU students be up-to-date with their vaccinations out of an abundance of caution.

County health officials say despite the record amount of mumps cases in the last year, there have been no deaths from the virus.

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