Mumps hits University of Alabama campus, health officials say
- Author: Marjorie Miles Feb 25, 2017,
Feb 25, 2017, 0:31
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has launched an investigation into several reported cases of mumps on the Penn State University Park campus. Two MMR doses are approximately 97% effective at preventing measles, and a single dose is about 97% effective at preventing rubella. But experts say people between the ages of 18 and 35 need to ensure they've had two doses of the shots to bolster their immunity.
Five of the cases are men with orchitis, or the painful swelling of the testicles, and about 60 per cent of the cases were not immunized or did not have both doses of the vaccine.
Students who are unsure if they've been vaccinated should contact the Student Health Center at 205-348-6262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A virus causes the mumps, meaning antibiotics are ineffective.
Mumps is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and a history of exposure to the illness.
If you think you have been exposed to mumps, contact your healthcare provider for advice. "If they didn't happen then everybody got sick".
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In a statement issued Friday, the department says it is working with the university's health services to investigate additional potential cases.
"It's not isolated cases, and it has been spreading", he said. Lenore Bromley noted, however, that the risk to the general public was low.
According to the health department, mumps is a virus that spreads through saliva and mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.
Dr. Jeff Blackmer, vice-president of the Canadian Medical Association, said the number of cases is "on the high side" and above what the medical community typically expects for this time of year.
That group of young adults is more likely to engage in behaviours and activities in which mumps spreads easily, like playing on sports teams where water bottles might be shared, living in dormitories in close conditions and sharing drinks and food in bars, she said.
The best protection against mumps is the MMR vaccine (combination MMR and varicella), which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses.