State investigating mumps cases at Penn State main campus

HARRISBURG — The state Department of Health is working with Penn State to investigate confirmed cases of mumps at the State College campus, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy announced Friday in a news release.

The department also is working with Penn State’s University Health Services to investigate additional potential cases. No further information regarding the cases will be released due to confidentiality reasons, the news release noted.

“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,” said Murphy. “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.”

“All PSU students and visitors should also take steps to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date, as that is the best way to prevent getting the mumps virus,” Murphy said. 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

• Loss of appetite.

The release noted isolation is of critical importance in preventing the spread of mumps. 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 the health department and health care professionals.

Individuals who think they may have the mumps should call their health care provider or PSU’s University Health Services for instructions.

For more information, visit the state Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow the department on Facebook and Twitter.