Mumps is Back to Harvard With 4 Cases Confirmed

The campus of the Harvard University

Mumps hits Harvard again increasing the risk of an outbreak.

Although mumps hasn’t been reported for several months on the Harvard University’s campus, it looks like this illness is back as four cases have been recently confirmed.

Over 60 people were infected in the spring during an outbreak which started around February. According to Dr. Paul J. Barreira, Health Services Director, four students have contracted the infection this month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underlines that this disease is widely spread across the United States. Earlier this month, nine people from the Tufts University were infected with mumps. Also, there are six states which recorded over one hundred cases, while Massachusetts ranks first with 221 reported cases.

How You Can Contract Mumps

This contagious disease is easily transmissible through saliva droplets or mucus from the throat, nose, and mouth of infected persons.

The infection is spread when the patient talks, sneezes, or coughs. Also, healthy persons can contract the virus by sharing soda cans, cups, and other items used by an infected person. The incubation period ranges between twelve and twenty-five days, although the symptoms may appear after 16 to 18 days too.

Common Complications

Experts underline that even if this disease is usually mild, common complications lead to orchitis, also known as a testicles’ infection. It is worth mentioning that only boys who have already reached puberty can develop this condition.

In the worst-case scenario, mumps causes encephalitis or meningitis which is an acute inflammation of the patient’s brain or spinal cord. Other rare complications include deafness, mastitis, and oophoritis in females, which is the inflammation of the breasts and ovaries.

Mumps can rarely cause fertility problems in men. The best method to keep mumps at bay is to get vaccinated with minimum two doses of the MMR vaccine.

The Symptoms

Experts claim that those who were born before 1957 are most likely immune to this condition, because of the high prevalence of mumps during the first half of the twentieth century.

Mumps vaccine is effective in 80 percent of the cases, so some people may still get infected although they were vaccinated. Common symptoms include pain while swallowing and chewing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, fever, and swollen salivary glands on the sides of your face.

Image Source: Wikipedia

About Carol Harper

Carol Harper began her career as a screenwriter before turning to journalism. Before earning her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Creative Writing, Carol travelled across Europe and Asia to find both herself and inspiration. She enjoys covering health & science topics.