Penn State is the latest college in Pennsylvania to report cases of mumps after similar announcements from Penn and other Philadelphia-area schools. Two cases were reported at the University Park campus as of Apr. 5. The infected have been isolated, and the university is in the process of identifying individuals who may have been in contact with them.
This report follows the ongoing outbreak at Temple in addition to isolated cases at Penn and Drexel. Like Penn and Drexel, Penn State requires the Center for Disease Control’s recommended two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine or proof of immunity.
However, Temple, where the outbreak has spread to at least 134 people, does not currently require immunizations for students. In response to the outbreak, Temple will begin requiring the MMR vaccine starting in fall 2019. In an email sent out to faculty, students, and staff last month, Penn administrators announced that an undergraduate student has been diagnosed with mumps.
Mumps is a contagious disease with symptoms including fevers, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands. The viral disease is usually spread through saliva, such as sharing food or drinks. It is possible for vaccinated individuals to contract mumps, given that two doses of the MMR vaccine are 88 percent effective, according to the CDC.
A decreased ability to fight the disease over time or the immune system's failure to respond as well as it should have are possible reasons the two doses may not be completely effective. The CDC, however, noted that vaccinated people generally have milder symptoms if they contract the disease.
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