Two more Penn students have been diagnosed with mumps, just two weeks after the University announced the first case of mumps on campus. The cases follow an outbreak at nearby Temple University that has sickened at least 140 students.
Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé confirmed the two new cases of mumps on April 9. Dubé said that unlike the situation at Temple, the three cases at Penn are not related to each other. Penn faculty, students, and staff were first informed in an email from administrators on March 27 that a Penn undergraduate who lives off-campus was diagnosed with mumps. Public health officials believe the case at Penn is unconnected to the Temple outbreak, the email read.
None of the three students are in isolation or contagious now, Dubé said. If a student is showing signs of mumps, they will be kept in isolation until lab testing can occur. Students in isolation are not allowed to share food or a bedroom with others.
Isolated cases have also been reported at Drexel University, West Chester University, and Penn State University.
Mumps is a contagious viral disease with symptoms including fevers, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands. The disease is typically 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-rubella vaccine. A person with two doses of the vaccine is 88% less likely to get mumps than if they went without the vaccine, so it is still possible to contract mumps after having received the mumps vaccine.
Dubé said the Penn community’s immunization compliance rate is high, at about 99%. Dubé added that it is not necessary or recommended for Penn students to get additional mumps boosters.
Because Penn students will likely be around crowds of people during Spring Fling, he also advised students to act with caution over the weekend.
“There is no on-campus transmission that we can tell, and that's a very important piece of information, but Spring Fling is at our door,” Dubé said. “So it's really important to just go over the basics because we want to make sure that we protect ourselves.”
Penn will be putting up posters across campus with information about mumps and reminders not to share drinks or vape products with other people during Fling.