Two cases of mumps have been reported at Drexel University.

The school’s vice president, Subir Sahu, emailed a letter to students and colleagues acknowledging that two undergraduates had contracted the disease and are in isolation off campus.

The letter notes that those who were in close contact with the infected students have received a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine booster. It instructs students who suspect they may have been exposed or are having symptoms consistent with mumps to report to Student Health for further evaluation.

Philadelphia Department of Public Health spokesman James Farrow said the department was working closely with Drexel officials as they monitor the situation.

“We’re in constant communication with them. We think that Drexel has a pretty good handle on this right now,” Farrow said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no more cases had been reported to the Health Department by school officials.

Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness that is largely preventable via vaccination. It spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.

An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, talking or sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others, and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

The symptoms typically include fever, headache, swollen glands, muscle aches and loss of appetite. The incubation period is usually 16 to 18 days from exposure to onset of symptoms.

The most effective way to protect oneself against mumps is to get two doses of the MMR vaccine.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults, including inflammation in the testicles in males who have reached puberty; inflammation of the ovaries or breast tissue; inflammation in the pancreas; inflammation of the brain; inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord and deafness.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 11, according to the federal agency, 48 states and the District of Columbia have reported 2,618 mumps infections, with Pennsylvania and Texas leading the way with more than 300 cases each.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

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