PHILADELPHIA – More than 2,000 students and staffers at Temple University took advantage of free vaccine booster shots Wednesday as the number of mumps cases at the school topped 100.
Philadelphia health officials said 2,285 people were given shots during the first of two clinics offering the MMR vaccine. The number of confirmed and probable mumps cases at the university has reached 106 as of Wednesday, according to the city health department.
The MMR vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella, will be made available to all Temple students, faculty and staff again Friday.
Among those in line Wednesday was Lauryn Edmondson, a 20-year-old communications major.
“At first, I was kind of freaking out a little bit,” she said, adding she worried because she has some friends and family members who are immunocompromised.
“The best I can do for myself and others is to get my booster shot,” she said.
The school could have initially done a better job at informing students about the outbreak, she said. The school is now distributing helpful information, she said, and she feels like she has a better handle on it.
Fifty years ago, mumps was a childhood rite of passage of puffy cheeks and swollen jaws. That all changed with the arrival of a vaccine in the late 1960s, nearly eradicating the disease. Research suggests protection fades 10 or more years after the second dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the MMR vaccine is the best protection.
Mumps is caused by a virus. It’s contagious and spread through coughing and sneezing. Common symptoms are fever, headache, and painfully swollen salivary glands. Most cases occur in children and teens who spread it at schools and dormitories.
Some people never have symptoms. In most others, it is a mild disease from which people completely recover in a few weeks. Sometimes, though, it can lead to complications, including hearing loss, meningitis and swollen testicles. In rare cases, infection can lead to sterility.
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