University of Maryland health officials said Friday that a student was diagnosed with mumps this month and that they are tracking two other suspected cases of the illness at College Park.
A contagious disease caused by a virus, mumps can spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat, the university said. Symptoms include fever, headache and swollen glands in front of the ear and above the jawline.
Students are required to be immunized against the mumps, but vaccines do not always prevent the illness. Officials advised frequent hand-washing and avoiding sharing glasses and utensils.
“This is not cause for alarm, but if additional people have symptoms, they should let us know at health center immediately,” University Health Center Director David McBride told the Diamondback student news outlet. “We want to monitor any spread of mumps on campus.”
Mumps is no longer common in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases annually reported to the government plummeted after a vaccination campaign began in 1967.
As of Aug. 13, the CDC had received reports of 1,786 mumps infections in 40 states. Four states have reported more than 100 cases this year, the CDC said: Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts.
Most people who get the disease recover within a few weeks. Among the most serious potential complications are hearing loss and inflammation of the brain, which can lead to death or disability.