An outbreak of mumps at Temple University has risen to 50 cases, school officials said Friday.
Twelve students have tested positive for the contagious viral disease, and another 37 are probable cases, Temple’s University Health Services reported.
That’s a significant increase from a week ago, when 16 cases had been reported at the university’s main Philadelphia campus. The outbreak has since spread to Temple’s Ambler campus in Montgomery County.
On Friday, the school announced it had updated its vaccination policy in the wake of the outbreak: Newly enrolled students are now required to have two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine; two doses of the chicken pox vaccine; and one dose of the Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (TDAP) vaccine.
Symptoms of mumps begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, lethargy, and loss of appetite, leading to a telltale swelling of salivary glands, which causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw.
The disease is spread via droplets of the mumps virus: through coughing or sneezing, by saliva, or via contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs.
Last month, Temple told students to self-isolate, avoid travel, and limit contact with others for five days within the onset of symptoms.
Recovery is similar to that of chickenpox — there is no treatment, only symptom relief such as rest and the use of over-the-counter painkillers. There is little risk of serious complications in healthy people, but anyone who is immunocompromised or pregnant should contact their doctor immediately if they have symptoms, the university said.
Temple’s mumps outbreak is the latest of nearly two dozen similar incidents at universities around the country in recent years. “Over time, your immune response might decrease a little bit, probably about the time you’re a young adult, and on a college campus,” Kristen Feemster, medical director of the immunization and communicable diseases program of the Philadelphia Health Department, told WPVI-TV on Friday. “A college campus is a close-knit community, where there are probably more opportunities for transmission than you might have in other places.”
On Thursday, Indiana University in Bloomington also reported an outbreak of mumps, which currently stands at three cases.