The University of Iowa

Mumps Information

Dear University of Iowa faculty,

We’ve seen the number of mumps cases on campus increase to more than 100.

Health officials are recommending that our students who are younger than 25, who are at the highest risk for mumps, receive a free third dose of the MMR vaccine. It’s an effort to help protect everyone from mumps and its complications, and to reduce the spread of the infection—not only on campus, but across the state and outside Iowa since Thanksgiving break is fast approaching.

The UI will offer multiple opportunities for students under 25 to receive the MMR vaccine free of charge. A list of the time and locations is available online at the UI Student Health & Wellness website: Additional free MMR clinics and sites will be added as needed.

There is currently no recommendation that UI students 25 and older, faculty, or staff receive a third MMR dose. Faculty and staff may contact their health care providers with any questions or concerns.

The best way to protect yourself and others is to receive two doses of the MMR vaccine. Also, encourage your students to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently. Practicing good hand hygiene, not sharing drinking or eating utensils, and limiting contact with infected people helps reduce the spread of the disease. Infectious disease specialists recommend staying at least three feet away from an infected person. For additional information regarding mumps please see below.

Medical Absences Policy

In order to help keep medical services available to people who truly need to be seen by a doctor, university policy is that faculty and teaching assistants cannot require a doctor’s note from a student who is requesting an excused absence from class due to illness. Students should, however, self-report illnesses using the absence from class form on the Office of the Registrar’s website here as a downloadable PDF

Students should not be penalized for missing a class due to illness. Faculty and teaching assistants should provide appropriate make-up work for those students with excused absences due to illness (this includes attendance requirements, assignments, quizzes, and examinations).

Students who do go to Student Health & Wellness can utilize MyChart to verify a visit to the clinic.  Students who do not already have My Chart can get assistance from Student Health staff to sign up for MyChart during their visit.  If a student does not wish to sign up for MyChart, they will be given a visit summary form. This form can be attached to their Absence From Class form. This can be given to the student’s faculty instructor or teaching assistant.    

Mumps Information

Mumps are generally benign, especially in people who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, but the disease is contagious.

We alerted area health care professionals, including UI Student Health and Wellness, to watch for symptoms when we received the first report of UI students testing positive for the mumps in August. Additional training for our residence hall staff and resident assistants was also provided at that time.

The symptoms of mumps include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling in the salivary (parotid) glands

Please be alert for these symptoms, either in others or your students.

The mumps virus is spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets (for example, when you cough) or by direct contact with items that have been contaminated with infected saliva.

The risk for spreading the virus increases the longer a person remains in close contact with someone who has the mumps. When a person is ill with mumps, he or she should avoid contact with others from the time of diagnosis until at least five days after the onset of parotitis (swollen glands) by staying home from work or school and staying as far away from roommates as possible. Some students elect to go home with parents for the duration of their symptoms. 

Mumps most commonly occur in children between the ages of 2 and 12 who have not been vaccinated against the disease. However, the infection can occur at any age. The incubation period is on average 16 to 18 days, but can range from 12 to 25 days.

We’ll continue to provide updates as needed on the UI Student Health & Wellness website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has more general information about mumps, as well as questions and answers about the disease.