Cost of controlling the mumps outbreak at the UW


At the conference of the Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association on July 15-19, Sheryl Schwartz, EH&S’s assistant director for Campus Preventive Health, presented a paper on the 2017 UW mumps outbreak. The paper and presentation described how the University controlled the mumps outbreak through:

  • Strong collaboration among UW units and with local public health officials
  • A robust communication and education campaign focusing on preventive activities
  • Hosting seven vaccination clinics

By the time the outbreak ended in June, the UW had 42 cases of mumps, compared to 200-450 cases at other large universities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed outbreak-related labor and resource cost information provided by UW employees and public health officials. Controlling the 2017 UW mumps outbreak took 2,692 staff hours and cost $282,762. The University contributed 1,495 staff hours and $160,664 to that total, with the remainder coming from the local and state health departments. Controlling a communicable disease outbreak is expensive! 

The takeaway: Make sure you have all the recommended vaccines and practice good preventive habits, such as washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, and staying home when sick. 

For more information about mumps, please visit Public Health — Seattle & King County's mumps webpage.