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November 15, 2016 | Category: Announcement

TO: Faculty and Staff, Medford/Somerville

To the Tufts community,

We are writing with updated information about the presence of mumps on the Medford/Somerville campus, which we first informed you of three weeks ago. Several students have now been diagnosed with mumps, and we continue to work with municipal and state health officials. We are encouraging you to pay extra attention to your health and to take precautionary measures that can protect you from the virus.

Mumps is generally a mild illness in healthy immunized young adults. The infection is spread by respiratory droplets, i.e. by sneezes and coughs, sharing drinks, and close social contact. Even those who are fully vaccinated (all Tufts students are required to have two mumps vaccinations) are still susceptible to becoming ill because the vaccine’s effectiveness seems to decrease with time.

To protect yourself and others:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or with the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks and utensils.

If you think you might have mumps, visit Health Service for evaluation. The main symptoms to look for are “chipmunk cheeks,” a swelling and pain of the saliva glands along the hinge of the jaw. Some people also have fever, fatigue and headache. People with weakened immune systems and those who are pregnant can have more significant symptoms.

Symptoms usually last three to four days. People are contagious for up to five days; as a result, affected students need to be isolated for five days to keep from spreading mumps to others. There is no medication for mumps—it has to run its course.

Thank you in advance for taking steps to safeguard your own health and also the health of our greater community.


Margaret Higham MD

Medical Director, Health Service

Mary Pat McMahon

Dean of Student Affairs, AS&E

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