Students are being urged to ensure they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine after a student in Arts was recently diagnosed with mumps.
Fears of an outbreak are mounting that would be similar to the infection of a significant number of third-level students with the disease in 2007.
Director of the UCD Student Health Service, Dr Sandra Tighe, explained that following the 2007 outbreak, sixth-year students were encouraged to ensure they had two doses of the vaccine in order to limit the affect should the strain spread through third-level colleges once again: “There was a big outbreak, and that arose because a lot of young people had only had one vaccine. They went on a catch-up programme and they went into the sixth years, so we expect that most people now have the two.”
Dr Tighe explained that she had been informed of a recent case of a UCD student having mumps and describes it as the “protocol” of the Student Health Service to ensure that all UCD students are aware of the necessity of having two doses of the MMR vaccine: “If you’ve ever had two, and you know you’ve had two, then you don’t need anymore. If you’re doubtful, and you know you’ve had one but you’re not sure, another one won’t do you any harm, but there’s no advantage to having three.”
Additionally, Dr Tighe emphasised that mumps is not the only disease that third-level students are at risk of catching, and advises students to “ensure they’ve had their meningitis vaccine, Meningitis C, to protect against the meningitis, and also that all students would consider having the flu vaccine done to ensure their risk of flu over the winter months.”
Students can make an appointment with a nurse in the Student Health Service to obtain the vaccine if they are doubtful with regards to how many doses they have had. A clinic for specifically administering the vaccine will be established if there is a high demand for it.