COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — A highly contagious–but rare–disease has infected students at the University of Maryland in College Park.
The university is now warning students to protect themselves, WJZ’s Devin Bartolotta reports.

Mumps are on the move in College Park, infecting as many as three students on the University of Maryland campus.

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“I don’t want to get sick. I’ve had enough colds from college,” one student said.

The highly contagious mumps virus is passed through saliva or mucus and can make life miserable for weeks, with a fever, headache, body aches, fatigue and swollen glands near the jawline.

UMD students say the university did send out an email about the issue, and some of them will be changing their habits.

“We usually will share cups or share food with each other, and we’ll probably change the habits,” one student said.

The email says all students are always required to prove they’ve received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

But emergency room physician Dr. Angie Wu says there’s still a chance vaccinated students can catch the virus.

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“You get it from someone who you’re in pretty close contact with, so places like college campuses, dorm rooms can spread it,” Dr. Wu said.

…And locker rooms. In 2014, mumps spread to more than a dozen NHL players on multiple teams.

Numbers have grown nationwide. In 2012, only 229 cases were reported.

But that number has steadily climbed–nearly 1,800 people have gotten mumps so far this year, with UMD students now adding to that number.

“Just the fact that there are cases on campus so close into the school year, it does make you nervous,” one student said.

The university is encouraging students to make an appointment at the campus health center if they’re feeling sick.

There is no treatment for mumps, and symptoms can last around two weeks.

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