A petition to temporarily close Temple University is gaining support online amid the outbreak of mumps, a highly-contagious disease, among students.
Concern Grows Amid Mumps Outbreak At Temple University
So far, the petition has received over 10,000 signatures and is on track of reaching its goal of 15,000 signature.
"There is a large number of students with autoimmune diseases at Temple who are at a much greater risk of developing the Mumps," the petitioners stated. "Even the slightest exposure to the infection could put students with these compromised immune systems at risk for not only developing the Mumps, but worsening their pre-existing conditions. This outbreak makes Temple an unsafe environment for all students and faculty, but especially students and faculty with autoimmune diseases."
Philadelphia public health officials believe that 74 people have contracted the mumps at Temple University as of Wednesday, March 20.
The outbreak of mumps has caused serious concern among students. Even those who received the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine are worried that they might catch the disease.
"I'm vaccinated but I'm still like scared to get it," said a student from Temple University, "so I'm kind of avoiding going out and stuff."
The number of possible mumps cases continues to grow every day and students are afraid that the outbreak might get out of hand. Mumps takes weeks before symptoms appear and people who were exposed could continue to spread the virus without knowing it.
Philadelphia public health officials recommend that those who suspect that they caught the highly contagious disease should stay home, avoid contact with other people, and immediately seek medical care.
Temple University Responds
Due to the growing support for the petition and the fear spreading among students, Temple University said that it will begin offering free vaccines within the campus in an effort to control the mumps outbreak. Students who have not had the shots can avail of the services from March 27 to March 29 at Mitten Hall's Great Court.
A spokesperson said, however, that there are currently no plans for a temporary closure. The local health department also does not recommend a temporary closure.
Symptoms of mumps include swollen or tender cheeks and jaw, fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness, and loss of appetite. The disease is transmitted through coughing, sneezing, talking, and direct contact with the infected person.