March 17, 2016
Dear Harvard College Students,
We hope you are enjoying the remaining days of your spring recess. As you know, we have had several confirmed cases of mumps in the Harvard community, and over the last week those numbers have grown. Some students have been in isolation, and others needed to self-isolate at home or while traveling.
Within our community, we all have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of this virus. With classes beginning again next week, we know many of you will be traveling back to the Cambridge area, and we write to remind you to be even more vigilant in taking precautions to prevent the spread of mumps if you are planning to travel.
Under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Cambridge Public Health Department, we advise you to refrain from public activities, avoid travel and public transportation, and contact Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) at 617-495-5711 to be evaluated if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of mumps – facial swelling, jaw pain, ear ache, or testicular swelling – or if you think you may have been exposed.
HUHS can help you navigate your health care needs and identify a provider in your area, if necessary. Doing this is crucial to minimizing the exposure of others to the virus, particularly those most vulnerable and in high risk populations.
If you have concerns about missing classes or other commitments, please contact your House Dean or Freshman Resident Dean, who can assist you with making arrangements and accommodations.
A reminder that prevention is centered on good hygiene:
- Always cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands frequently
- Dispose of used tissues and other similar objects appropriately
- Do not share glasses, eating utensils, water bottles, cigarettes, lipstick/makeup, etc.
We continue to monitor this situation closely, and additional information can be found at huhs.harvard.edu/mumps. Please take care of yourselves and be mindful of those around you.
Paul J. Barreira, MD
Director, Harvard University Health Services
Henry K. Oliver Professor of Hygiene