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Penn State Urges Campus to Take Mumps Precautions
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 03/16/2017

As of March 13, Penn State University Health Services has investigated 38 probable or confirmed mumps cases. Of those 38 cases, 17 have been confirmed by lab tests. The first confirmed mumps case was reported at University Park on Jan. 29.

Students who have not already done so are advised to request a copy of their immunization information from their private health care provider to be faxed to University Health Services at 814-865-9309. During a mumps outbreak, people identified as a contact of a probable or confirmed case of mumps who do not have proof of immunity will be excluded from campus for 26 days after the last possible date of exposure.

People infected by mumps are considered contagious from three days before symptoms begin through five days after the start of symptoms. Anyone who has experienced symptoms is urged to contact University Health Services at 814-863-4463 or a local health care provider immediately.

While two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine typically provide adequate immunity to the infection, the vaccination does not guarantee protection.

What is mumps? What are the symptoms?

Mumps is a serious contagious disease passed through saliva and respiratory secretions. 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. Complications from mumps, although rare, can include inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, breasts and/or brain.

How can I protect myself from getting mumps?

Mumps is passed through saliva and respiratory secretions. Students are urged not to share food or drinks, and not to engage in activities where drinks are shared or where the virus can be passed through saliva exposure. In addition, frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette are also encouraged to help prevent spread of the disease.

What if I was never vaccinated against mumps?

Anyone who does not have immunity to mumps, either through receipt of the two-dose MMR vaccine or a previous mumps infection, should schedule an appointment immediately to receive the vaccine at University Health Services or from their primary-care provider. If you cannot show proof of immunity to mumps, you may be excluded from campus for up to 26 days.

If I was vaccinated, am I protected?

Most of the confirmed mumps cases are in students who received the CDC-recommended two doses of MMR vaccine. While two doses of MMR vaccine typically provide adequate immunity to the infection, the vaccination does not guarantee protection. According to the CDC, the mumps component of the MMR vaccine is about 88 percent effective when a person receives two doses.

What should I do if I contract mumps? What is the treatment?

While there is no treatment for mumps, University Health Services is advising that anyone who develops mumps symptoms get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take over-the-counter pain medication to ease symptoms. Students are also urged to stay home, isolate themselves from others for five days after the start of the symptoms, and avoid activities where food or drinks are shared or where the virus can be passed through saliva exposure.

What is Penn State doing to stop the spread of mumps?

Students who have developed mumps symptoms have been isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols and recommendations, and several of these students have left University Park and returned home during the infectious phase of the illness. University Health Services staff have been in touch with those students who have been in close contact with any confirmed or probable mumps cases. We have excluded students from campus who were identified as a contact of a probable or confirmed case of mumps and could not provide proof of vaccination, in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading.

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