Penn State health officials report that there have been 12 cases of students with mumps at University Park within the past several weeks.
According to a university press release, all of the infected students have been isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pa. Department of Health protocols and recommendations.
There have been a total of 24 confirmed mumps cases since January, the release said.
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.
Penn State is advising the university community to take precautions against mumps, especially with end-of-semester events, like commencement and move out, coming up this weekend and drawing a large number of people to campus.
According to the university, two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella 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, such as those who are in prolonged, close contact settings.
"By college age the vaccine-induced immunity of previous vaccinations may have started to fade, making this population more vulnerable," the university said.
University Health Services 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.
UHS also recommends taking the following precautions: stay away from people who are sick; cough or sneeze into a tissue or your upper sleeve; wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; don't share food and drinks with others, engage in drinking games or participate in activities that may result in saliva exposure.