Penn State University Health Services (UHS) reports 12 cases of students with mumps on the University Park campus within the last several weeks. All have been isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols and recommendations.
However, with upcoming end-of-semester events, including commencement and move-out activities which draw large numbers of people to campus, the University community is advised to take precautions against mumps. Those who do not have presumed immunity to mumps — either through two doses of the MMR vaccine or through previously contracting mumps — should be especially 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 (this includes 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 cases during the spring semester. There have been a total of 24 confirmed cases since January, with all of the students isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols and recommendations. UHS staff also have notified and provided recommendations to those who have had direct contact with mumps cases, at the time their exposure risk was identified.
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 University Health Services at 814-863-4463; faculty and staff 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