A young man with mumps. Photo: Creative Commons

UC Berkeley students are being encouraged to get a booster shot after an outbreak of mumps afflicted 20 students.

The Tang Center at Cal will be offering free MMR vaccines from noon to 6 pm on October 6, and from noon to 6 pm on October 14th.

“The UC Berkeley campus community is experiencing an outbreak of mumps,” university health officials said in a campus-wide email sent out on Tuesday. “University Health Services and the City of Berkeley’s Public Health Division are working closely with the California Department of Public Health to limit spread of the disease.”

Students who came down with the mumps were clustered on the Clark-Kerr campus, about a half-mile south of campus, and in the Cloyne student housing north of campus, according to the Bay Citizen.

Before this recent outbreak, Berkeley had only had six reported cases of mumps since 1990, according to city officials.

Because a significant number of people in the Berkeley community has not been immunized for mumps, there is a higher likelihood that an outbreak can propagate and infect more people.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus. Mumps typically start with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by a swelling of the salivary glands. Currently, there is no specific treatment for mumps. Supportive care should be given as needed. If someone becomes very ill, they should seek medical attention. Patients should call their doctor in advance so that they don’t have to sit in the waiting room for a long time and possibly infect other patients.

There is useful information on the disease on the Center for Disease Control website. For those resisting giving the MMR vaccine, it is important to know there is no scientific evidence to link the MMR vaccine with autism.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...