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Looking Ahead To End-Of-Year Parties, Purdue Offers Free Mumps Vaccines To University Community

West Point-The U.S. Military Academy

Purdue University is the latest school to offer free mumps vaccines to help combat the spread of a campus outbreak of the highly contagious virus

Four people at Purdue came down with the virus this week, bringing the total number of confirmed cases on Indiana college campuses to 50.

Mumps is of particular concern for schools this time of year, says Tippecanoe County Health Department Administrator Craig Rich. Events such as Little 500 and Purdue’s Grand Prix mean a higher likelihood the virus could be passed between schools.

“That’s certainly a concern,” he says. “That’s one of the ways its spread and why it’s usually congregated on college campuses, because they are in close contact.”

Purdue Student Health Center Director Gail Walenga says the schools don’t have any particular plan for prevention, other than urging students to be responsible and take precautions.

“Prevention, really, is good hygiene,” says Walenga. “If you think you have the mumps, get evaluated and limit your contact with other people.”

Like all state schools, Purdue requires all students to have two doses of the mumps vaccine before matriculating. The upcoming free vaccine clinics, Walenga says, are for faculty and staff who may have never received a second MMR dose, although students may also receive a booster shot at the clinic.

Similar clinics at Butler and Indiana University, where similar outbreaks have occurred, received thousands of visitors.

State Health Department officials surmise crowded spring break trips could have been to blame for the virus making the jump to Purdue. 

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