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With Special Olympics and Summer Camps Approaching, Penn State Reports New Mumps Cases on Campus

by on May 30, 2018 9:18 AM

As several events and activities are expected to draw large numbers of visitors to campus in the coming days and weeks, Penn State University Health Services reported nine new cases of mumps since May 1 at University Park, including four in the past week.

Since January, Penn State has had 31 confirmed cases of mumps, a highly infectious disease passed through saliva and respiratory secretions.

The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games begin Thursday at University Park, bringing thousands of visitors to campus, and a multitude of summer camps are getting under way. The university on Wednesday urged those who do not have presumed immunity, either through two doses of the MMR vaccine or previously contracting mumps, to take precautions to avoid exposure.

Even having the recommended vaccine doses doesn't necessarily guarantee protection. A university news release stated that all of the cases have had at least two, and in some cases three, doses of the MMR vaccine.

All of the past and recent student who were confirmed to have mumps were isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, and individuals who had direct contact with mumps cases were notified and given recommendations.

"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," the Penn State news release stated. "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 Services advises that individuals stay away from others who are sick; cover their mouths with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing; wash hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer; avoid sharing food and drinks, taking part in drinking games or engaging in other activities that may result in saliva exposure.

Students who develop symptoms should contact University Health Services at 814-863-4463. Faculty, staff members and visitors should contact their primary care providers.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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