Before I start, I want to make it clear that I am not a medical professional. Instead, I am a journalist who is simply trying to provide the public with a quick research summary about what Mumps is.
The reason that I am writing this is due to the excessive amount of cases at Temple University's main campus. As of now, there are over 100 probable cases, with 18 being confirmed.
As the weeks go on, the case numbers are expected to continuously increase.
So, what exactly is Mumps?
According to the John Hopkins Medicine Health Library, Mumps is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Essentially, Mumps causes severe discomfort in your salivary glands, which are located in the front of your neck. It also causes discomfort in your Parotid Glands, which are located right in front of your ears. If you have Mumps, either of these glands will become very painfully swollen and tender.
What are the symptoms?
There are several symptoms of Mumps. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mumps is most commonly determined by puffy cheeks and swollen jaws. However, there are other symptoms that will typically appear within 16-18 days after infection (sometimes this period can span from anywhere between 12-25 days).
These symptoms are commonly confused with the common cold and include fevers, headaches, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Some people also suffer from problems with chewing and men can experience pain in their testicles.
How does Mumps spread?
Unfortunately, Mumps is highly contagious. It can spread in the air through coughing, sneezing and even talking. It can also spread easily through saliva by sharing cups and bottles or by kissing. Partaking in any close contact activities such as dancing or playing sports with someone who has it can put you at risk.
Touching the same object that someone with Mumps who has unwashed hands has touched can put you at a big risk as well. Someone who has Mumps can spread the disease without even knowing it. This is because the infected person can spread the disease for up to a few days before their glands swell up.
Therefore, a person who has Mumps should limit their contact with others. It is highly recommended that they stay at home and avoid social situations.
What complications are associated with Mumps?
Complications include inflammation of the testicles, inflammation of ovaries, inflammation of breast tissue, inflammation of the pancreas, inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the tissue covering the brain, inflammation of the spinal cord and deafness.
Why is an outbreak happening at Temple University?
The Mumps outbreak at Temple started when patient zero got in contact with others on the campus. They most likely did not know they had it when they were spreading it. Mumps cases have gone down tremendously over the years, but outbreaks still occur in close-contact settings.
A university is a prime location for an outbreak to occur. So yes, this outbreak is serious, but at the same time, it is not as uncommon as you think.
What does it mean for students at Temple?
During the outbreak, it is important for students to have good hygiene and be aware of their surroundings.
Lastly, the most anticipated question for students: Will the school shut down? So far the answer to that question is a solid no.