Over 28 cases of mumps have been confirmed at Ohio State University. Every infected person is either a student at the college or has connections to it. All of the infected people but one have received mumps vaccinations. School officials are afraid that the number of cases will grow over the next few weeks as students continue to be exposed to each other and return back from spring break.
The school had reported 23 cases of mumps before spring break. Many students returned to the campus from spring break on Monday and since their return, 5 more cases were reported. While many people are vaccinated for mumps as children, Ohio State University does not require students to have any vaccinations to attend the college.
A mumps vaccine was developed in the 1960's and caused the number of mumps outbreaks to drop significantly. Although cases of mumps are rare in the United States, they can occur on college campuses as many students are not vaccinated and come from different areas where vaccinations are not popular or available.
Mumps is highly contagious and causes painful swelling of the salivary glands. Most people who are vaccinated will not contract the mumps. However, most mumps vaccinations require boosters and if a person does not get the boosters, they are more likely to contract the virus. The college is still trying to determine the source of the outbreak, and are preparing for a long battle with the illness. The incubation period for mumps is longer than many other viruses, therefore an infected person may not know they have the virus and could be exposing other people to it.
"The possibility is always there for more cases," college spokesman Jose Rodriguez said. "With the long incubation period mumps has, it is a recipe for a prolonged outbreak."
Have you been vaccinated for the mumps?
Image via Wikimedia Commons