This fall, a continuous chorus of coughs can be heard throughout classes on the University of Dallas Rome campus. Many students have come down with the common cold.
More seriously, one student recently displayed symptoms of mumps, a viral and contagious disease, during a university-led trip to Campania, Italy.
The affected student, who was quarantined and put on bed rest, later tested negative for mumps.
Mumps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a common disease in Europe, Africa and Asia, resulting in swollen salivary glands that may lead to further complications.
The disease spreads through saliva and mucus, and may be prevented by the MMR vaccine. UD recommends this vaccine but does not require it, according to the pre-registration health forms.
Dr. Peter Hatlie, director of the Rome program, informed students of the medical situation during a routine Monday night meeting.
In a follow-up email sent on Sept. 19, Hatlie described precautions taken to protect the affected student and notified students that the Rome campus is “all clear” of mumps.
“In future, if presented with similar concerns, we will take any and all similar steps to protect both the best interests and privacy of students and the larger interests of the community,” Hatlie wrote.
“In the meantime, we urge everyone to do sensible things such as regular washing of hands and no sharing of drinking glasses, eating utensils and the like, in order to limit the spread of disease on the Rome campus,” he added.
This latest health concern follows a Sept. 5 alert issued by the U.S. Embassy in Rome concerning cases of West Nile virus in northern and central Italy. While most infected individuals experience only minor symptoms, less than one percent develop a serious neurological illness, according to the health alert. However, this virus has not affected the Rome campus. UD staff will be continuing to monitor student health.