The mumps situation at Harvard is ongoing, according to Felice Freyer’s article in the Boston Globe.
Four more students have been diagnosed with mumps at Harvard University, school officials said Wednesday. So far, six cases have been diagnosed.
Mumps is a viral infection that often causes parotitis (inflammation of the parotid gland). Check out the CDC website to learn more. Mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. MMR vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the disease. Outbreaks can occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings. In recent years, outbreaks have occurred in schools, colleges, and camps.
Here’s a quick comparison of mumps and meningococcus, which can also be transmitted in crowded college dormitories. Recall we had a meningococcus scare here in Boston a few weeks ago among homeless peopl.
- Mumps: caused by a virus, vaccine preventable (usually), death is exceedingly rare
- Meningococcus: caused by a bacteria, vaccine preventable (usually), often deadly
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