University Health Services (UHS), a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, is advising all students to closely monitor their personal health and avoid high-risk activities as potential mumps cases at University Park continue to rise.
According to the health department, mumps is a virus that spreads through saliva and mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.
Okanogan County Public Health confirmed Tuesday that one adult is sick with the mumps in the county.
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Mumps is routinely addressed with the MMR (measles, mumps and Rubella) vaccine at 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years.
Justin McDaniel, a Penn State spokesperson, said there have been four cases confirmed by lab test and 15 more students are suspected to have the disease.
The ADPH recommends any UA students, faculty and staff not vaccinated with two doses of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) to immediately receive a second MMR from the Student Health Center, their doctor or the health department.
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Mumps is a contagious disease that can cause long-term health problems.
"You've got young people in close proximity who may have had only one dose of the vaccine, and then they're sharing water bottles ... and they're in very close proximity in the locker room, in hotel rooms, and on the bus when they're coughing and sneezing". Those with no record of MMR that decline to be vaccinated should not attend class for 25 days after exposure to mumps.
Shorman said there are a few students in the district who have not received an immunization for mumps for either religious reasons or health concerns. Forty per cent of the patients had two or more doses of the vaccine. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms; recommendations include bed rest, a soft diet and a pain reliever for body aches. 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.
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Dr. Sarah Wilson, a medical epidemiologist with Public Health Ontario, said individuals in the age range now more susceptible to mumps may also be more at risk due to their behaviour traits.