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Number of mumps cases continues to swell

The number of cases of mumps in the Midwest continues to grow. The Ohio mumps outbreak, the largest in the nation, has even reached into the Ohio legislature, the Columbus Dispatch reported on May 5. A staffer in the state's House of Representatives has been diagnosed with the contagious viral illness.

Cover your cough to prevent the mumps
city of Columbus and Franklin County Public Health / public domain

The Ohio outbreak is centered around the state capital of Columbus and the campus of Ohio State University. As of May 5, Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health report 317 cases of mumps in 12 counties. A total of ten patients have required hospitalization.

Ohio State University is linked to 188 mumps cases. On campus, 128 students and 24 faculty and staff have been confirmed with the illness since Jan. 1. Family members account for three cases and an additional 33 cases are patients with ties to the OSU community.

There are, at this time, 129 mumps cases that have not been linked to the OSU outbreak. They are concentrated in the city of Columbus and Franklin County. Just 34 cases have been reported outside this area.

The number of mumps cases in Illinois continues to climb. The State Journal-Register reported in a May 5 story that the state has seen 82 mumps cases so far in 2014 versus 25 in all of 2013. The majority of the cases are in Sangamon County, where the state capital of Springfield is located, and in Morgan County just to the west. This outbreak, the paper notes, seems to be affecting adults more than children.

In Wisconsin, an April 30 story by Wisconsin Public Radio notes 20 mumps cases in the state for 2014. The story also reported the low vaccination rate for children age 2. Almost 15 percent of all children in that age group in 2012 had not received their first dose of the MMR vaccine which prevents measles, mumps and rubella.

The Centers for Disease Control provide this description of mumps:

Mumps is 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 states that mumps outbreaks often occur in colleges and other places where people are living close together. The vaccine is not 100 percent effective and a small number of vaccinated people can catch mumps.

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