Outbreak of mumps in Utrecht student houses
According to the Municipal Health Service (GGD) in Utrecht, there has been an outbreak of the infectious illness mumps at three student houses. The infection has been confirmed in the case of five students. Another three are very likely to have contracted mumps too.
Measles in The Hague and now mumps in Utrecht
Recently, there was a case of measles spreading at a day care facility in The Hague, however, unlike this instance, the GGD has found no direct link between the first patients from the various houses. Additionally, there is no clear link in terms of the programmes the infected people study, their student associations or activities as of recent. The virus has, nonetheless, been passed on to housemates.
Interestingly, the majority of the students infected with the virus have been vaccinated against it. This is of course not a guarantee that they cannot contract it, as it is well known that the protection the mumps vaccination offers declines in some young adults. Whilst some young adults may therefore not be fully protected against mumps, those who are vaccinated have more protection in terms of complications that the virus can cause.
How do you know if you have mumps?
Patients with mumps usually experience flu-like symptoms to begin with, which is followed by inflammation of the salivary glands a few days later. This inflammation can cause swelling in the cheek or neck. Those who have contracted mumps are usually completely back to normal after a week. However, in some cases, complications such as hearing damage and testicular swelling can occur.
Dutch government assessing making vaccinations compulsory
The Dutch government is assessing its options for increasing vaccination coverage. According to the State Secretary of Social Affairs, Tamara van Ark, “We are going to look at what works, what we can quickly implement, and what is also durable”. Such a statement is rather surprising, as the government, comprising two Christian parties, officially doesn’t believe in making vaccinations compulsory.
Liberal MP Hayke Veldman wants the Cabinet to look into the feasibility of the Australian model, which involves compelling day care centres to only accept vaccinated children, with the risk of fines if they don’t, and reducing parents’ childcare benefits if they don’t have their kids vaccinated against dangerous diseases. At the end of this week, the issue will be discussed in the Cabinet via a Letter to Parliament