Mumps Outbreak at Harvard


As of June 22, 2017, there are two confirmed cases of mumps in the Harvard community. At this time, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Boston Public Health Commission are still investigating the origin of these cases. There have been a number of cases in the Boston/ Boston North area as well in the past month. 

Harvard University Health Services has been working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Cambridge Public Health Department to track and monitor the situation.

Harvard’s campus is open and life here continues largely unaffected. We plan to go forward with our full programming. Should the situation change significantly in the coming weeks, we will inform students if any changes are being considered.

Immunity to mumps

If you have previously had mumps, you are considered immune to the virus. However, if you have been vaccinated for mumps, although you are much less likely to contract the virus, you can still be infected.

Populations most at risk for infection or complications include the elderly, small children, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those who have not been vaccinated.

If you are unsure whether you have been vaccinated, contact your primary health-care provider and ensure that a vaccination is received in time for it to be fully effective prior to arriving on campus. 

If you experience symptoms of mumps

If, prior to arriving on campus, you experience any symptoms of mumps—facial swelling, jaw pain, ear ache, or testicular swelling—or if you may have been exposed, you must contact us immediately.

While for the health and safety of those on campus, you may not be permitted to attend the Summer School, we will work on a case-by-case basis to make alternative arrangements, such as allowing you to attend a later program, if possible.

If you should develop symptoms of mumps while on campus, we will expect you to self-isolate for five days after the onset of salivary gland swelling either in Harvard-provided housing or at home. If traveling home, you or your family will need to provide transportation. Please do not use public transportation.

For more information

If you have any questions or concerns about programming or accommodations while at Harvard, please contact (617) 495-4024. Additional mumps-related information can be found on the Harvard University Health Services website.

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