AZUZ: The mumps virus is spreading so fast at Harvard University that officials are saying it could affect the school's commencement ceremony on May 26th. At least 40 people there have come down with mumps over the past two months. The local health department says all of the students who've gotten it had been vaccinated against it.So, officials want students to take it more seriously to try to prevent its spread. It's not usually very dangerous and patients have been isolated.But because it spread like a cold, most of the recent outbreaks in the U.S. have been high schools and colleges where people share desks, classrooms and study spaces.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mumps is an infection that's caused by the mumps virus, even if somebody is not sick at all.About a third of people who get the mumps infection won't have any symptoms, but they're still carrying the virus and they can still potential spread it to other people.
When they get mumps, a lot of times, it's going to feel like just about any other viral infection. But the real characteristic about this particular infection distinguishes just about anything else, doctors know this — the moment someone walks in, it's right here. It's these parotid glands. It's what makes you look like a chipmunk.
Most of us just get two shots to protect us against mumps in our lifetime. One when we're about a year old and another one when we're between four and six year old. But if you're a healthcare worker, if you're someone who may be in close contact to people with mumps, or if you go travelling to an area where mumps is more endemic, you might consider getting another booster shot.
With mumps, like a lot of other viral infection, the treatment is what we call symptomatic. They're basically trying to let the body get through this period of illness. But for most people, it's a lot of sleep, it's a lot of rest overall, staying hydrated and letting your body overcome this infection.