16 cases of mumps have been reported at Temple University

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Sixteen cases of mumps have been reported by Temple University, according to Christopher Vito, associate director of public relations at Temple. He said 10 of those are confirmed, six are probable and one additional case is under investigation.

The university, based in Philadelphia, first reported cases of the contagious illness on February 28 but did not say how many people were infected.

Mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease that is caused by a virus. It is spread through saliva or mucus by coughing, sneezing or talking, sharing eating utensils or cups, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also spread when an infected person touches items or surfaces that are then touched by someone else who picks up the virus.

Outbreaks usually occur among people who have close contact, such as on college campuses and among sports teams.

Symptoms can appear 12 to 25 days after a person is infected and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, being tired and loss of appetite. The hallmark, though, is swollen glands under the ears that are tender. But not everyone has symptoms, especially if they are experiencing a mild case of the illness.

The best way to prevent mumps is with a vaccine. According to the CDC, the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is 88% effective when two doses are given.

There were more than 2,000 cases of mumps in the US in 2018. During January of this year, 58 cases were reported, according to preliminary data from the CDC.