Mumps on the rise, Temple students petition to temporarily close campus

Vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

UPDATED: 4:21 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Cases of the mumps continue to rise at Temple University.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said there are now a total of 74 cases of the mumps or mumps exposure in the area. 

Of those 74 cases, 15 are confirmed, while 59 more are probable. Seventy-one of those infected are city residents, while three live in the suburbs. 

READ: More mumps cases reported at Temple

In response to the growing number of cases, a petition has circulated online for Temple University to temporarily close until the situation is taken care of. The petition has already received more than 5,600 signatures in its first few days. 

"There is a large number of students with autoimmune diseases at Temple who are at a much greater risk of developing the mumps. Even the slightest exposure to the infection could put students with these compromised immune systems at risk for not only developing the mumps, but worsening their pre-existing conditions," the petition read.

"This outbreak makes Temple an unsafe environment for all students and faculty, but especially students and faculty with autoimmune diseases. ... The fact is, as long as Temple continues to stay open, and classes and activities continue to be held, this outbreak will not cease."

Mumps are most commonly associated with puffy cheeks, swollen salivary glands and a sore jaw. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said other symptoms may include a fever, loss of appetite, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue.

While it usually clear up in a few weeks, some rare cases can lead to serious problems, like swelling in the brain or spine, meningitis, or permanent damage like deafness. 

Symptoms may not show up for two or three weeks after infection, making it easy to spread.