Students asked to use judgment in attending THON in light of mumps cases

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Health Services (UHS) is reporting that three cases of mumps have been confirmed on the University Park campus.

University Health Services is recommending that anyone showing symptoms of mumps not attend THON activities this weekend (Feb. 17 to 19). 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.

In addition, anyone who has been in close contact with a student confirmed or suspected of having mumps is asked not to attend, even if they are not showing symptoms. 

Mumps is a contagious disease passed through saliva and respiratory secretions. People with mumps are considered infectious from three days before swelling begins through five days after the start of swelling. For most people, two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provide adequate immunity to the infection.

University Health Services, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, advises the following:

  • All students, faculty and staff should check with their health care providers to confirm receipt of two doses of the MMR vaccine after their first birthday. 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 to receive the vaccine. Students may schedule an appointment at University Health Services; faculty and staff should contact their primary care providers.
  • All 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, anyone who does not have proof of vaccination may be excluded from campus until 25 days after the last possible date of infection.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks, engaging in drinking games, or other activities that may result in saliva exposure. In addition, frequent hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are also helpful in preventing the spread of this and many other diseases.
  • Although the two-dose MMR series is highly effective for most people, it is important to remember that no vaccine is 100 percent effective for every person. Unfortunately, there is not a good way to determine who has not developed immunity from the two-dose vaccine series.

Students confirmed to have mumps were isolated in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols and recommendations. UHS staff have been in touch with those who have been in close contact with the individuals. UHS, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is closely monitoring the situation.

Anyone who develops mumps symptoms should contact University Health Services at 814-863-4463.

For additional information, please review the following resources:

Last Updated February 15, 2017