We are writing to inform you that a Tufts student on the Medford/Somerville campus has been diagnosed with mumps, and a second suspected case was seen at Health Service today. Mumps is a viral illness that is generally mild; the main symptoms are swelling and pain of the saliva glands, located over the hinge of the jaw. Some people also have fever, fatigue and headache. Symptoms usually last 3-4 days and people can be contagious for up to 5 days. The university has informed and is working with municipal and state health officials.
Mumps can spread quickly in university settings, and a number of colleges and universities in the New England area have recently reported cases. The infection is spread through coughing and respiratory droplets. All Tufts students are required to have two immunizations against mumps prior to entry; however, the protection from mumps vaccine seems to decrease over time and vaccinated people can still develop mumps. People who have never been immunized can have more severe symptoms.
Students developing swelling and pain of the side of the cheeks or over the jaw should come to Health Service for evaluation. Students with suspected mumps will be placed in isolation for 5 full days. If you have not been immunized against mumps and would like to help protect yourself, we can provide the vaccine to students at Health Service.
If you have a weakened immune system or are pregnant, please contact your primary care provider to see if there are any special precautions you should take.
As with so many other illnesses, good respiratory hygiene, frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer, and covering coughs and sneezes can help keep you healthy. For more information about mumps, see http://www.cdc.gov/mumps/. If you have questions, call Health Service at 617-627-3350 or visit during regular hours.
Margaret Higham, MD
Medical Director of Health Service
Director of Environmental Health and Safety