Mumps Outbreak Spreads Outside OSU Campus

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The recent mumps outbreak on The Ohio State University's campus has officially spilled into the general Franklin County area.

Twenty-eight cases of mumps were documented in Columbus since the beginning of February, but had previously been limited to OSU students and faculty, ages 18 to 48. As of the time of Columbus Public Health's press release updating the public on the outbreak, 56 cases of mumps had been reported throughout Franklin County. Out of those, 40 were confirmed to have stemmed from the campus outbreak. Victims range in age from four to fifty years age.

They recently updated this data to confirm a total of 63 victims with 45 stemming from OSU cases.

With news of the outbreak broadcast from local and major news sources and prevention tips offered by the CDC and the OSU campus health source, how has the disease spread so quickly?

Even with proper hygiene and precautions, the mumps vaccine is only 80% effective and is contagious even before symptoms arise. Mumps can also share several symptoms with the common cold symptoms, such as headache, fever, and weakness. It is markedly different mainly in the painful salivary gland swelling it causes. So, early diagnosis is both essential and incredibly difficult. It is understandably hard to contain the disease once an outbreak occurs.

Fortunately, though painful and unpleasant, mumps rarely fatal and the infection usually passes in a couple of weeks. However, the CDC reports that mumps is more likely to cause serious complications such as hearing loss in children, orchitis in men, and mastitis in women who have not received their MMR doses. In extremely rare cases it can cause paralysis and seizure.

Considering the dangers, Columbus Public Health Commissioner Teresa Long recommends any unvaccinated Franklin County residents "get vaccinated as soon as possible."

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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