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Mumps Returns to Harvard with Two Confirmed Cases

By Grace R. Ramsdell
By Sarah Wu, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard University Health Services has confirmed two cases of mumps on campus as of June 22, 2017, marking the return of the disease that infected dozens of students last year.

HUHS Director Paul J. Barreira wrote in an email Saturday that authorities are investigating the origins of these cases.

“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,” Barriera wrote.

Leslie A. Kirwan ’79, Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean for Administration and Finance, noted in the email that one of the two cases is connected to the Harvard BioLabs complex. “Colleagues who have been in that facility recently are urged to take special note of this alert, though it is of importance to our whole community,” she wrote.

In the spring of 2016, HUHS confirmed 66 active cases on Harvard’s campus. Infected students were quarantined in efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

Summer vacation contributed to the decline of that outbreak of mumps. Though there were no active cases when students returned to campus in the fall, four cases were subsequently confirmed in November.

Massachusetts state health officials released a warning in earlier this month regarding a mumps outbreak in greater Boston.

In the email to University affiliates, Barreira advised community members to focus on good hygiene, and to contact HUHS if individuals experience common symptoms of the mumps, including facial or testicular swelling, jaw pains, or earaches.

—Staff writer Sarah Wu can be reached at sarah.wu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarah_wu_.

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