Southeastern PA

Medical officials asking the community to be aware after mumps outbreak at Temple University

A mumps outbreak at Temple University has now spread to nearby counties, and medical officials are pleading with the community to be aware.

It's also re-ignited the controversy over vaccines.

Temple confirmed the outbreak earlier this week, asking those in the surrounding community to be aware of the symptoms and take precaution.

But it's also, once again, calling attention to the theory that vaccines cause autism in children.

The Montgomery County Health Department suspects the county has two cases of mumps. Both are associated in some way to Temple's campus.

"Most of our outbreaks in the last decade have been on college campuses,"  Dr. Jeffrey Jahre of St. Luke's Health Network said.

Mumps is most commonly passed through saliva and respiratory secretions. The illness is similar to the flu and often results in swollen neck glands.

Anyone who tests positive is urged to stay home.

"It's important that once you are diagnosed with it you have to stay home for a few days until you are not contagious anymore," Dr. Tibisay Villalobos of Lehigh Valley Health Network said.

The outbreak also reignited controversy over the MMR vaccine, which was once rumored to cause autism.

"There has now been over 10 very legitimate studies that have shown that there is absolutely no truth to that linkage whatsoever," Dr. Jahre said.

A recent Danish study of more than 650,000 children over ten years shows the MMR does not increase the risk or trigger autism in children who are at risk.

"The vaccine is effective please take advantage of it autism is not a link," Dr. Jahre said.

Temple is currently on spring break, which means students are coming home or traveling.

With Temple students from the Lehigh Valley home for break, doctors urge everyone to be on the lookout for symptoms and see a physician if you notice the onset of the disease.

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