Kingston University has confirmed that cases of mumps have affected students at the University amid warnings from health experts that numbers could rise across the country.
It is believed that the infection has affected various sports teams with students, who wanted to remain anonymous, telling The River that they have caught the disease.
A Kingston University spokesperson said: “The University and the Union of Students are aware of a small number of cases of mumps at the University.
“It is spread through infected droplets of saliva, in the same way as colds and flu. Symptoms include painful swelling of the glands at the side of the face, headaches, joint pain, and fever.”
Mumps, a viral infection which is notoriously contagious, can be spread as quickly as more common illnesses such as colds and flu.
Provisional data from Public Health England show that there is a rise in mumps cases across England in 2019, which looks set to continue throughout the rest of 2020.
Outbreaks have largely driven the steep rise in cases in universities and colleges due to the so-called Wakefield cohorts – young adults born in the late nineties and early 2000s who missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were children.
A spokesperson for the NHS said: “Mumps is much more likely to occur in young adults who did not have the MMR vaccine when they were younger.
“If someone believes that they had been infected by the illness, they should try to avoid contact with others for at least five days after symptoms have developed in order to not spread it further.”
The infection is also known for being more dangerous for males as it can cause damage to the testicles.
The Kingston University spokesperson said: “The University is advising all students to follow NHS advice to prevent the spread of mumps through regular hand washing with soap and disposing of tissues when sneezing.”