GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It all started when Caillin Heron’s jaw started to hurt and she found it hard to chew.
That lead to a high fever, aches, pains and a severely swollen face. A few days later, the second army lieutenant and recent UF criminology graduate was diagnosed with the mumps.
As of Tuesday afternoon, University of Florida spokesperson Steve Orlando confirmed there are 24 cases of the mumps on campus. All 24 students were vaccinated.
Herron said it felt like a really bad flu and the worst face pain she’d ever experienced.
“At one point I was sleeping sitting up,” said Herron.
She says her doctor prescribed steroids and antibiotics and after about eleven days of the illness, she finally started to feel better.
Herron believes her case of the mumps wasn’t as bad as it could have been because she is vaccinated. University of Florida students are required to receive the MMR vaccine before they can attend school.
Now, Herron is encouraging others to get a third MMR vaccine. The CDC recommends getting the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
According to the CDC, two doses of MMR vaccine are 88% effective at preventing mumps. Mumps outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in settings where people have close, prolonged contact, such as universities and close-knit communities. During an outbreak, public health authorities may recommend an additional dose of MMR for people who belong to groups at increased risk for mumps. An additional dose can help improve protection against mumps disease and related complications.
A Florida Department of Health spokesperson said it is important to understand the majority of outbreaks in the U.S. are identified on college and university campus, meaning these cases are “not totally unexpected.” He said most cases go undiagnosed due to a lack of testing and reporting.
Florida has had 37 reported cases of mumps in 2019. Click here to search for cases.