COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri has canceled a popular event and is urging student groups to halt others as the number of confirmed and probable mumps cases climbs to 128.
University spokesman Christian Basi said Thursday that “for the safety of our students and university community” the school has called off a late night breakfast during finals week that typically draws from 1,500 to 2,000 students, plus faculty and staff. Finals begin Dec. 12.
He said the school also is urging student groups to consider canceling or postponing other social events. Most of the cases are linked to students in fraternities and sororities.
The outbreak began in early November with four confirmed cases on the Columbia campus. The Student Health Center reported the latest numbers Wednesday.
Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling in the salivary glands and cheeks. The university is among several across the nation – Harvard and Tufts among them – that has grappled with outbreaks this year.
Although mumps outbreaks haven’t been common in the U.S. since routine vaccinations began, there has been a rise this year, according to the CDC. As of Nov. 5, 2,879 mumps cases had been reported nationwide since the beginning of the year – more than twice as many as in all of 2015.
All infected University of Missouri students received the required two doses of a vaccine that protect against mumps, as well as measles and rubella. But the vaccine doesn’t prevent all infections and anyone with symptoms is asked to stay at home.