Colleges at center of new mumps outbreak
- CBS News reports on a resurgence in mumps infections throughout the United States, with more than 2,800 cases reported this year — nearly double the number of confirmed illnesses in 2015.
- The University of Missouri, which has reported nearly 200 cases of mumps infection this academic year, has asked students to refrain from throwing social engagements on campus and asked students to avoid public places like bars in order to stem the outbreak.
- Harvard University and the State University of New York have each reported more than 60 confirmed mumps cases since last spring, joining dozens of other campuses facing control issues with the disease commonly caused by exposure to sneezing, coughing or sharing cups and utensils.
For many colleges and universities, the greatest challenge is not in identifying or treating outbreak among students, but in trying to force students to change their social habits so that infection can be properly contained.
From a public relations perspective, colleges which deliver information about the infection and quarantine instructions are best prepared for questions from parents, students and the media, and are the most likely to avoid suffering negative reactions in enrollment or coverage according to how transparent they can be about causes and responses to illness outbreak.