Nearly 5,000 students get shots at Temple University amid mumps outbreak

/ CBS/AP

Philadelphia — A mumps outbreak on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia has reached the triple digits. The city health department said the number of confirmed and probable cases of mumps at the school reached 108 as of Thursday.

Nearly 5,000 students and faculty members have taken advantage of free vaccine booster shots, with more than 2,500 people given shots Friday during the second clinic offering the MMR vaccine, according to city health officials. The first clinic at the school Wednesday saw more than 2,200 people.

"It's just really scary to me so I decided to go and get it," one student said, CBS Philly reported.

Officials are having a tough time containing the outbreak, which started in February. Mumps, which is transmitted through saliva, is easily spread on campus with students in close contact with one another. And because symptoms can take a long time to show up, the virus that causes flu-like symptoms and a swollen neck is being spread unknowingly.

"Mumps has an incubation period of, on average, 16 to 18 days and can be as long as 25 days," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. "So we do expect the cases of mumps will continue to happen at Temple, even if everything we're doing here is completely effective."

Mumps vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades, but research suggests that protection fades 10 or more years after the second dose. Temple is considering recommending all students get the booster.

Farley said the outbreak at Temple is not a threat to the general public.

First published on March 30, 2019 / 4:06 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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