Four cases of mumps have been confirmed on Penn State’s University Park campus, University Health Services reported Sunday.
Mumps, a disease caused by a virus, is characterized by swelling of the salivary glands, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Symptoms begin about 16 to 18 days after infection and include tender and swollen glands below the ear and along the jawline and neck, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.
With Thon just days away, anyone who develops mumps symptoms is strongly discouraged from attending the 46-hour dance marathon in support of pediatric cancer.
Several cases of mumps were reported just prior to Thon last year, too.
All of the infected students were isolated in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Department of Health protocols and recommendations, according to Penn State.
UHS staff have also been in touch with those who have been in close contact with affected individuals, Penn State said. The Pa. Department of Health is monitoring the situation.
According to the university, two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provide adequate immunity, but a third dose of the vaccine is recommended by the CDC for people identified as having an increased risk of contracting mumps during an outbreak.
“Also, by college age the vaccine-induced immunity of previous vaccinations may have started to fade, making this population more vulnerable,” Penn State said.
UHS advises that all students, faculty and staff check with their health care providers to confirm that they’ve received two doses of the MMR vaccine. Anyone who doesn’t should schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.
“During a mumps outbreak, anyone who does not have proof of vaccination may be excluded from campus for 25 days after the last possible date of infection,” the university said.
UHS recommends covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; washing your hands frequently and efficiently; avoiding sharing food and drinks; and staying home when sick as precautions to help limit the spread of illness.