(March 24, 2016)Sixteen mumps cases have been confirmed among Harvard University students in Cambridge since Feb. 29. All students were fully immunized against the mumps prior to contracting the disease.
A measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Even in a highly vaccinated population it is possible that some people will get the illness. At Harvard, 99% of undergraduate students and 98% of graduate students meet all state immunization requirements.
To date, there have been no confirmed mumps cases in Cambridge residents who are not members of the Harvard community. Nonetheless, a Cambridge resident outside of Harvard could be exposed to the mumps through close contact with an infected person.
The Cambridge Public Health Department, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Harvard University Health Services have been working collaboratively since February to facilitate diagnosis and laboratory testing, dissemination of public health messaging, and contact tracing investigation.