In a follow-up on the mumps situation at the University Park campus of Penn State University, Penn State University Health Services (UHS) is reporting nine new mumps cases since May 1, including four in the last week.
With the Pennsylvania Special Olympics and summer camps expected to bring large numbers of visitors to campus this week and in the weeks ahead, those who do not have presumed immunity to mumps — either through two doses of the MMR vaccine or through previously contracting mumps — are urged to take precautions to avoid exposure to mumps and be aware of the risks.
The incubation period for mumps is 12 to 25 days, which means that anyone exposed to someone with mumps could be infectious at this time. People most at risk are those who have not been fully immunized, including infants and young children who are not yet old enough to be fully vaccinated, and those with compromised immune systems, making them more susceptible to infection.
University health officials, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, have been closely monitoring mumps at University Park, with 31 confirmed cases linked to the campus since January. All of the identified cases have had at least two, and in some cases three, doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
All individuals with confirmed cases have been isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols and recommendations. UHS also has notified and provided recommendations to those who have had direct contact with mumps cases, at the time their exposure risk was identified.
Mumps symptoms often include tender swollen glands below the ear or along the jawline on one or both sides of the face and neck, headache, fever, and cold-like symptoms. Students who develop symptoms should contact UHS at 814-863-4463; faculty, staff members and visitors should contact their primary care providers.
UHS advises the following precautions against mumps:
— Stay away from people who are sick.
— Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve, not your hand.
— Handwash frequently with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
— Don’t share food and drinks with others, engage in drinking games, or participate in other activities that may result in saliva exposure.