In a follow-up to the ever growing mumps outbreak at Harvard University, which we reported the first cases on Mar. 1, local health officials report forty-one (41) mumps cases had been confirmed in the Harvard community, as of April 27. The Harvard community includes current Harvard students, faculty, and staff. Those who have been diagnosed with mumps or presumptive mumps (while they are awaiting test results) have been advised to self-isolate for five days after onset of symptoms.
In Fairfield, CT, officials at Sacred Heart University have reported eight confirmed mumps cases in the past 5 weeks. The University is advising undergraduate students with possible mumps to seek care at the Wellness Center.
Mumps is a viral infection that is spread through infected respiratory droplets, like sneezing or coughing. Typical signs and symptoms of mumps are swelling of the face/cheek/jaw (parotitis), jaw pain, headache and/or low grade fever. The infection is usually mild, but can be painful and may have complications.
Students are required to have received two doses of mumps containing vaccine prior to attending classes, so most students on campus should be protected. Vaccination with 2 MMR vaccines provides 90% effectiveness for mumps; however, even those who receive two doses of vaccine can become infected.
Students with signs of mumps must be isolated for five days from the onset of salivary gland swelling. There is no specific treatment for mumps or exposure to mumps. Most people with mumps fully recover. The incubation period from exposure to onset of symptoms for mumps is typically 16-18 days (range 12-25 days).
Practice good hygiene: good hand washing, not sharing drinks, eating utensils, water bottles, cigarettes, lipstick, makeup, etc. Please cover with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues.