IU mumps outbreak now at 20 cases in dorms and fraternity

Indiana University. (WTHR Staff)
IU Mumps Outbreak
Mumps at IU
Mumps at IU

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - Officials at Indiana University's main campus say they now have 20 confirmed cases of mumps at the school.

The school learned of the latest confirmed case just before a news conference Monday to give a status report. It was diagnosed by an off-campus medical provider.

Officials said the first 16 mumps patients have already recovered and are back in classes. Three are still recovering and staying in isolation, so as not to infect others on campus.

"We do have some pending tests on patients in which we suspect mumps. We are waiting for confirmation from the state lab," said Dr. Beth Rupp, medical director at the IU Health Center.

Two of the students are international students and all had been vaccinated against the mumps. Sixteen of the cases were in students who had received two doses of the MMR vaccine. Experts at the news conference say that even with the two doses of the MMR vaccine, it is still only 88 percent effective.

IU Public Health Manager Graham McKeen said the cases have been logged among students in dormitories.

"I know we have some cases in off-campus housing," said McKeen. "Confirmed cases will be given single rooms with single bathrooms during the infectious period, which is five days after onset."

Students are being advised not to share things like cups and eating utensils and to keep counters and food surfaces clean.

The university also said some cases may be related to at least one fraternity house on campus. IU not releasing the name of the house, but once that link was found, the university held a clinic with those fraternity members and associates.

"We also met with the executive board of the fraternity and encouraged them to cancel any social activities this semester. They did decide to do that on their own accord," McKeen said.

It's rough timing for those students who are still in recovery. The university is now working with them to reschedule things like exams and projects. This is the last week of classes and next week is exam week.

The university said as long as students provide documentation they have received vaccines, "we can accommodate them. Work with the student and their faculty to come up with a new end of year academic plan so they can finish the semester."

IU is also working with the Centers for Disease Control by sending out emails to every student who might have come in contact with the virus.

On campus Monday, we spoke with students Ben Self and Jalen Purdue.

“All my classes are pretty small. I don’t really interact with the rest of the students. That much. Same with me, stay to myself. I don’t have to worry about all of that, especially after the first word about it. I’m just going to keep my distance.“

Even with only a handful of reported cases, students are concerned about staying healthy during the last week of classes before finals.

“I got an email that someone in my class, that I was in the same class of someone that was exposed to it or someone that had it, so I may have been exposed," said student Pranay Bettadapur.

“Right before I came I actually learned of another case,” said Dr. Rupp at Monday's news conference. "We have not had any major medical complications."

“We also met with the executive board of the fraternity and encouraged them to cancel any social activities this semester. They did decide to do that on their own accord,” said McKeen. IU is not naming the house.

By law, all students are supposed to have two doses of the mumps vaccine by the time they come to campus, unless they have a religious exemption. The university says none of the cases involves people with an exemption.

“I’ve just been making sure I monitor my symptoms and stuff. It would obviously be unfortunate, so I hope I’ll be OK,“ Bettadapur said, adding no symptoms had been observed so far.