While a suspected case of mumps at Kutztown University tested negative, the University encourages the community to continue to take precautions against mumps.

Previously, on Thursday, March 28, the KU Health and Wellness Center reported that a student was sent home for a suspected case of mumps but were awaiting test results. On Friday, March 29, the tests came back negative for mumps.

“In regards to the suspected mumps case at Kutztown University, our medical staff has received a negative test result for the suspected mumps case. There are currently no cases of mumps at Kutztown University. We continue to encourage our community to take proper precautions to reduce their chances of contracting the disease,” said Bryan Salvadore, director, KU Communications, in a Friday, March 29 statement.

“With several area colleges still reporting confirmed cases, we urge our community to continue to take precaution to reduce your chances of contracting the disease. Our medical staff will continue to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to ensure appropriate measures are in place,” wrote Dolores Hess, Director, KU Health & Wellness Services, in a KU campus announcement.

The Wellness Services announcement also encouraged precautions to reduce chances of contracting the disease including proper immunization against mumps, covering a cough or sneeze with sleeve (instead of hand), washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer, avoiding sharing food or drinks, and staying home when sick to limit spreading illness to others. Contact a medical professional if experience mumps symptoms such as puffy cheeks, fever, aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.

In a statement to media, KU stated, “Our medical staff is cognizant of the outbreaks of mumps at other universities in the area. KU’s Health and Wellness Center has an infectious disease surveillance process that monitors for all contagious diseases and sends students home or has them self-isolate. Mumps has an incubation period of 12-25 days and a person can be contagious for a few days prior to symptoms per CDC. It would be very difficult to monitor who and where students visit on campus or at home.”

According to the Mayo Clinic website regarding mumps, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mumps/symptoms-causes/syc-20375361, the best way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated. Most people have immunity to mumps once fully vaccinated. This is given as a combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) inoculation. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended before a child enters school (first vaccine given between the ages 12 and 15 months and the second vaccine given between the ages of 4 and 6 years).

“College students, international travelers and health care workers in particular are encouraged to make sure they've had two doses of the MMR vaccine. A single dose is not completely effective at preventing mumps,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

With regard to a third dose of vaccine, 

the KU Wellness Center gave an update on Monday, April 1.

"The information from the CDC and the MAYO Clinic both confirm (at this time) that a third dose of vaccine is only recommended if a person is part of a group at increased risk due to an outbreak in their area. The local Department of Health and the CDC determines if individuals are in an outbreak area and should consider the third dose," according to the KU Wellness Center.

On Monday, April 1, KU reported that there currently are no cases of mumps at Kutztown University. "The Health and Wellness Center continues to be in constant surveillance of any student with a potential infectious disease within the campus community."

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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