Multiple cases of the contagious virus mumps have been confirmed at Penn State University's University Park campus, according to the state Department of Health.
In a statement issued Friday, the department says it is working with the university's health services to investigate additional potential cases. The statement does not indicate how many cases have been confirmed and how many potential cases are being tested. It says no further information will be released due to confidentiality issues.
"In light of these confirmed mumps cases, and with spring break fast approaching, it is very important for PSU students to avoid sharing food and drinks with others and to monitor their overall health," says Dr. Karen Murphy, the state's secretary of health. "Students who have been diagnosed with mumps or are experiencing symptoms of the virus should check with PSU Health Services before returning to the State College campus."
Murphy also warns visitors to the campus to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date. She says it's the best way to prevent getting the mumps virus.
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According to the Department of Health statement:
The mumps virus is characterized by swelling of the glands located just below or in front of the ear/jaw. Individuals with mumps virus may not experience symptoms at all, and for those who do show symptoms, they usually occur about two weeks after being initially infected.
Symptoms of mumps include swelling and tenderness of one or both salivary glands, usually the parotid glands located just below the front of the ear/jaw; fever; headache; muscle aches; tiredness; and loss of appetite.
Anyone with a confirmed mumps infection, individuals awaiting test results, or close contacts of anyone with mumps who has not been previously vaccinated, should remain isolated for a recommended period of time as directed by health care professionals.
Those who think they may have the mumps should immediately call their health care provider.
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