Mumps is a contagious viral infection that often affects the parotid glands, located under the earsLouis Ashworth

In a post on their JCR page, Homerton students were warned by their nurse that “there are cases of Mumps appearing in the Cambridge Student population”.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that often affects the parotid glands, located under the ears. This creates a notorious “hamster cheek” look caused by painful swelling in the glands. Other symptoms of the illness include headaches, joint pain and a high temperature. It is spread through “infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose.”

Students at Newnham were urged to “seek medical attention promptly” if they experienced any of the symptoms.

One anonymous student who had Mumps last year spoke to Varsity about their experiences with the illness.

They said that symptoms such as “dry throat, general tiredness or fatigue, and slightly enlarged glands on the sides of [their] throat” had begun to appear two days before their final exams. They said that this was the worst of their discomfort, and after about a week, these painful symptoms began to subside as their “face had swollen up to a quite ridiculous and actually very funny size”.

“What remained a big inconvenience was the inability to sleep without a lot of pain from resting any weight at all on my face.”

In the UK, it is national policy to provide two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, and this vaccine can be administered to anyone of any age. The official advice from the University is that “all students ensure that they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine before coming to university” to prevent an outbreak of the infection.

The MMR vaccine was introduced in the UK in 1988, and for many undergraduates born in the UK after 1998, the vaccine would have been administered when they were a child, though it is possible to check with your GP if you are unsure.

A post on Newnham College’s facebook page yesterday, however, also warned that “it is sometimes possible to get mumps even if you’ve been vaccinated”, though they stressed that it is “usually a self-limiting condition, resolving in 1-2 weeks”.

This was the case with the student who spoke to Varsity, as when asked if they were vaccinated, they replied that they had had “both of the MMR vaccinations, so fully up to date.”

According to the NHS, the MMR vaccine is something people should ensure they have had when attending university. Their website states, “If you have not previously had two doses of MMR you can still ask your GP for the vaccine”.

Sandy Chambers, the nurse at Homerton, urged students to “get vaccinated if they hadn’t already been vaccinated”.

“Although most often a mild illness, Mumps can cause severe complications”.

Good prevention practices include the regular washing of hands, and disposing of tissues quickly when they’re used.

According to a BBC report, there were over 300 cases of Mumps at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham in September.

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