Temple University

Mumps Outbreak Expands to Drexel University and Montgomery County Schools

In Montgomery County, there were 20 suspected cases of the infection as of Friday afternoon

What to Know

  • Montgomery County, Pa.'s medical director says 20 suspected cases have been reported to health officials.
  • The first case of mumps popped up at Drexel University where a graduate student who lives off-campus is suspected to have the infection.
  • Temple University has reported 93 cases over the past two weeks.

Suspected cases of mumps have popped up at Drexel University and two Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, school districts. The admissions from health officials came Friday as an outbreak of the viral infection continues to expand at Temple University.

A Drexel University graduate student is believed to have the disease, Dr. Sabir Sahu, the school's Dean of Students, said in an email message to students on Friday. The student lives off-campus.

In Montgomery County, there were 20 suspected cases of the infection as of Friday afternoon. Dr. Richard Lorraine, the county's medical director, said none of the cases have been confirmed positive through laboratory testing at this point.

Among the probable cases are two students: a high schooler from Abington Senior High and an elementary student from North Wales. Both districts sent home letters to parents warning them to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Mumps can be easily spread among people in close quarters through kissing, the sharing of cups and fluids or competing in sports, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Swelling in a person's salivary glands causes puffy cheeks, a signature feature of the disease.

It can take nearly two weeks for mumps symptoms to manifest in an infected person. There is no cure for the virus, but the vaccine has an 88 percent chance of preventing a new infection, the CDC says.

The vaccine's effectiveness can wane over time, however, meaning a booster shot may be necessary to keep up the body's defenses against the virus. Philadelphia health officials previously said that may be why the number of cases is blooming.

Temple's outbreak tally stands at 93 cases. The university has 40,000 students and more than 4,500 staff. The North Philadelphia school is offering free vaccinations to students and staff next week.

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