Several students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa have been diagnosed with the mumps, according to state health officials.
The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a news release Friday saying it's investigating those cases and working with the school to contact additional students and faculty members that may have been exposed to the disease.
Mumps is a virus that spreads through saliva and mucus from the mouth, nose or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, talking, sharing items, and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands. Mumps is best known for the appearance of puffy cheeks and swollen jaws, but these symptoms only occur in up to two-thirds of infected persons. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, tiredness and loss of appetite.
The Alabama Department of Public Health says, with few exceptions, students attending the University of Alabama are required to be immunized against the mumps virus and other contagious diseases. Mumps immunizations are available at UA's Student Health Center.
The health department says only one case of mumps was reported in Alabama in 2016.