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DSU Manages South Dakota's First Mumps Case

April 21, 2006, 9:28 PM by Matt Belanger

DSU Manages South Dakota's First Mumps Case
The mumps outbreak of more than one thousand cases in the Midwest has made its way to South Dakota. The first official case was reported Friday afternoon at Dakota State University.

The infected student, whose name is not being released, is in isolation. University officials have also interviewed the student and spoken with the student's close friends to alert them of the possibility they may have contracted mumps.

DSU is working closely with the State Department of Health and has been trying to keep its campus community informed. An email DSU officials sent to all students, faculty, and staff when the university first alerted people to the mumps case on campus. It asks everyone to watch closely for the symptoms of mumps, which include a fever and swelling. The email also asks people to do everything they can to stop the spread of the virus.

But, like most colleges, students at Dakota State University live two-to-a-room in residence halls. And now that South Dakota's first case of mumps has surfaced on their campus, students are worried about how those close quarters might affect the viruses' spread.

“There's quite a bit of interaction with other people, even if you are just in the dorms or in Trojan Hall getting food, there are a lot of people around,” said Jacob Bigelow, a DSU student.

Jenna Kostelecky, another student, is spending a lot of her time working closely with two classmates on a marketing project. She shares the same concerns.

“I was pretty surprised when we just got that email yesterday and it was in Iowa and now 24 hours later it’s at DSU on our campus,” she said.

Kostelecky received two emails on her laptop about the situation. She says the university is doing a good job of keeping people informed.

“I'll take caution, its not the top of my worries but I'll take caution if I feel different,” she said.

And that's exactly what Vice President Steven Shirley wants to hear.

“We've gotten information out to students yesterday and we followed that up today with more information today when we confirmed there was a case with a DSU student,” Shirley said.

Friday, students weren’t letting the news change their schedules much at all. They were playing pool as planned and still making progress on their final projects. But it was all happening with a raised awareness about mumps.

“General advice is much like preventing most viruses, covering your mouth when you cough, washing your hands frequently especially after touching common surfaces, door knobs and things like that,” Shirley said.

The university is holding a vaccine clinic Saturday morning for students who may not be up to date with their MMR vaccines. That starts at 11 a.m. in the Trojan Center.

As for students who may have traveled home for the weekend who are worried about infecting their families, people become contagious 12 days after they've contracted mumps. And based on the information of this case, anyone who this student may have infected won't be contagious until the middle of next week.

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