Six Harvard Students Are Sick with Mumps

The Cambridge Public Health Department is investigating the scope of the outbreak.


Photo by Olga Khvan

UPDATED, March 10, 10:50 a.m.: Three more students have mumps, totaling nine cases in all. Two UMass Boston students also came down with mumps this week.

UPDATED, March 3, 2016, 9 a.m.: Harvard has confirmed four more mumps cases among its students, bringing the total to six. The affected students are already in isolation, and the Cambridge Public Health Department continues to monitor the outbreak.

Harvard has confirmed that one undergraduate and one graduate student are sick with mumps. The school is working with the Cambridge Public Health Department to find the cause and extent of the outbreak.

Students were notified in an email sent by Paul Barreira, director of the school’s Health Services department. Barreira urged students not to share food or drinks, to wash their hands frequently, and to self-quarantine for five days if they have the disease or suspect they do.

Mumps is a viral infection most recognizable by the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that accompany it. Sufferers will also likely have headache, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands. The disease is usually fairly harmless, but progresses to meningitis in about 15 percent of adult cases.

Harvard’s announcement comes just days after St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, reported two confirmed cases of mumps and three suspected cases among members of its men’s hockey team.