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Mumps outbreak spreading in Ohio State community

The number of cases in the Ohio State University mumps outbreak has risen to 63, CNN reported yesterday afternoon, March 24. While 45 cases are tied to OSU, an additional 18 patients with the viral illness have no connection to the campus. Local authorities stated to CNN that 97 percent of those infected had received at least one of the two shot immunization schedule for mumps. The outbreak began in early January.

Columbus Health Department
Columbus Health Department

The mumps patients with Ohio State ties consist of 24 males and 21 females, ages 18 to 48, NBC4 states in their March 24 story. Students represent the majority of these cases, 36. Four cases have been in OSU staff, one in a student's relative and four in persons with close ties to the university.

In the city of Columbus and in surrounding Franklin County, OH, the ages of the patients with no ties to the university range from 4 to 55, WBNS reports. NBC4 is reporting that a number of the male mumps patients lived in the Sigma Chi fraternity house off campus.

The Centers for Disease Control describe mumps as:

a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. Mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.

The CDC reports that one dose of the MMR vaccine for mumps provides 78 percent of patients with immunity on average. The recommended schedule of two doses of the vaccine increases immunity rates to an average 88 percent. Complications from mumps, according to the CDC, include:

  • rare cases of encephalitis/meningitis
  • deafness
  • "Inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty"
  • "inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems"

Columbus, OH, is home to the 57,000 students from the main OSU campus. It is also the state capital. The city is part of Franklin County.

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