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54 Mumps Cases Tied to Temple University

The number of people suspected to be infected with the virus has bloomed over the past week

What to Know

  • Philadelphia health officials said Monday that 54 people either have or probably have measles at Temple University.
  • There are 12 confirmed cases and 42 probable cases — a jump from 28 cases last week.

A mumps outbreak continues to grow at Temple University as public health officials now suspect 54 people have come down with the viral infection.

Testing confirmed that 12 people contracted the disease and 42 others are considered probable cases, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Health said Monday.

The tally of cases jumped significantly in the past week. A count last Wednesday sat at 28. 

A rumor was also spreading among students that the North Philadelphia university was considering a temporary closure because of the outbreak. Temple spokesman Christopher Vito shot down the suggestion saying in an email Monday evening that "no conversations regarding university closure have taken place."

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.

The outbreak prompted Temple University to change its immunization policy for incoming students by requiring them to have received two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine before entering school. The vaccine decreases your risk of contracting the virus by about 88 percent, the CDC said.

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. City health officials previously said that may be why the number of cases is blooming.

Health officials recommend students who may be infected limit contact with others.

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