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Office of News & Public Affairs

Letter to the BC Community | May 2, 2013


Dear Members of the BC Community:

Boston College Health Services has identified the possibility of the mumps virus on campus.  While we have no confirmed cases, clinical evaluations suggest the likelihood of a positive diagnosis among several BC students.   

Mumps is an illness caused by the mumps virus. Symptoms may include fever, body aches, and swelling of the glands in one or both sides of the jaw. Symptoms generally last for a week. 

The illness is most often spread through direct contact with saliva from an affected individual through respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze. The incubation phase, from the time of exposure until the onset of illness, is 10-25 days.  

Given that the vast majority of our students have been vaccinated, and that most individuals who are exposed to the virus do not contract it, the illness is often less serious and the symptoms less severe among college-age students. Nonetheless, we want to alert the BC community so that measures can be taken to limit the spread of the virus.

Students who think they have symptoms should go to University Health Services on the first floor of Cushing Hall for evaluation. If diagnosed, students will be advised to self-isolate for several days and rely on roommates to bring them food. Buddy packs are available in Corcoran Commons and Stuart and McElroy dining halls for the remainder of the year. 

As an important aspect of good health practices, students should avoid coughing or sneezing into the air, and should wash their hands and use hand sanitizers frequently.  We also urge students not to drink fluids from the same container. Over the next few weeks, our facilities staff will be taking additional measures to wipe down railings and door handles in public spaces throughout campus. 

The link below to the Mumps Fact Sheet from the Centers for Disease Control provides additional information. If you have questions, please contact BC Health Services at 617-552-3225.


Dr. Thomas Nary

Director of University Health Services