The Alabama Department of Public Health confirms that it is investigating several cases of the mumps involving students at the University of Alabama. Health officials are investigating the possible origin of the virus and working to contact others who may have been contaminated. 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. More common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, tiredness and loss of appetite.