A Penn undergraduate was diagnosed with a lab-confirmed case of the mumps following an outbreak at Temple University that has sickened at least 100 students, according to a March 27 email from Penn administrators.
The infected Penn student lives off-campus and was diagnosed following lab testing at Student Health Service, according to an email to the Penn community from Provost Wendell Pritchett, Vice President for Human Resources Jack Heuer, Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, and Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé.
The message read that public health officials believe the case at Penn is unconnected to the Temple outbreak.
“Penn staff are in constant communication with the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Philadelphia Department of Public Health to monitor this evolving situation,” the message added.
Mumps is a contagious viral disease with symptoms including fevers, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands. It is usually spread through saliva, such as sharing food or drinks.
Penn currently requires all full-time students and all students living in campus housing to have two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. The vaccine is 88 percent effective at preventing the disease, but cases of the mumps do appear in vaccinated populations.
The message encouraged members of the Penn community to wash hands frequently and “avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, or e-cigarettes.” It added that symptomatic students should visit Student Health Service, where they may be directed to self-isolate.
Since late February, there have been an estimated 105 cases of the mumps at Temple, with 18 confirmed cases and 87 probable cases. Isolated cases have also been reported at Drexel University, West Chester University, and in Montgomery County, Pa. In response, Temple has announced it will require future students to be up-to-date on the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and is also offering a free vaccine clinic for students, faculty, and staff.