Counseling and Health Care director, 308.865.8248
Students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney have an opportunity this week to be part of a national study about the mumps outbreak that has hit the nation and to learn about the status of their immunity to mumps at the same time.
“This study is being conducted as part of the national investigation and response to the ongoing mumps outbreak in the United States,” said Dr. Lois Flagstad, UNK dean of students.
“Currently, UNK has no cases of mumps, although mumps has been occurring elsewhere in Nebraska,” said LeAnn Obrecht, director of UNK Counseling and Health Care. “This situation presents an unique opportunity to test the level of vaccine-induced immunity of students in a university setting where there is no circulating virus.
“While mumps vaccine efficacy is estimated to be between 70%-80% with one dose, and 80%-90% with two doses,” she said, “the current outbreak among college students in Iowa and other Midwestern states has raised concerns about mumps vaccine effectiveness and waning immunity.”
Thursday and Friday (April 20-21), representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., and the Nebraska Health and Human Services System will be testing students between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the UNK Health and Sports Center.
UNK and University of Nebraska Medical Center nursing students, ages 19-30, who have had all of their vaccinations in the United States are eligible for the free testing, which only requires a routine blood test.
“There is no charge for the students to be tested,” Obrecht said. Students do not need to register in advance, but can be tested at their own convenience during the testing hours.
“This is an unique opportunity to be involved with a study about the mumps outbreak and to provide information to the health agencies,” Obrecht said. “We are very excited about it.”
“Documenting mumps immunity in a university population is necessary to estimate level and duration of protection in this population since the current U.S. outbreak largely affects university students,” she said.
Agencies collaborating on this study include: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nebraska Health & Human Services System, Two Rivers Public Health Department, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing and UNK Counseling & Health Care.
For more information, individuals can contact the UNK Counseling & Health Care office, 308.865.8248, or Two Rivers Public Health Department, 888.669.7154.