Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Shamard Charles, M.D.
Health officials say at least 10 cases of mumps have been confirmed at Temple University, the most cases in the city since 2011. Another 6 cases are also suspected and one additional case is being investigated, said Ray Betzner, a Temple University spokesperson.
The Department of Public Health for Philadelphia said Thursday the effectiveness of the mumps vaccination tends to wane over time so it’s not necessarily a case of unvaccinated people.
Spokesman James Garrow says the outbreaks tend to be more common on college campuses where people are more closely in contact.
There is no cure for mumps. Symptoms include feeling tired, fever and swollen salivary glands on the side of the face. Many who are infected may not know, as symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after exposure.
Last week, Temple University Student Health Services issued a statement to its community members cautioning that they be aware of the symptoms and to take steps to keep themselves and others healthy, after being notified that several Temple students have tested positive for mumps. Special attention was paid to students who were going on vacation for spring break.
Mumps is highly contagious, especially among people in crowded environments, and is spread through saliva and respiratory secretions, but the disease has been rare since widespread use of a vaccine introduced in the 1960s.
To avoid spreading the disease people are advised to:
- Wash hands frequently
- Use sleeve technique when covering mouth
- Avoid sharing food and drink
- Stay home from work or school if symptoms appear
Garrow said the outbreak probably won’t increase in number since Temple health officials are being told to treat the virus instead of testing.
The city’s public health department said in 2017, there were eight confirmed cases in Philadelphia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.