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Ohio mumps outbreak: Spreading from campus to community

The mumps outbreak that originated at Ohio State University has now spread into the general Franklin County community.
The mumps outbreak that originated at Ohio State University has now spread into the general Franklin County community.
Ohio State University

The mumps outbreak originally confined to a college campus has spilled into the general public.

According to CBS News, officials from Franklin County Public Health announced Monday that the outbreak linked to Ohio State University in Columbus is now being considered a community-wide outbreak.

In all, 63 people have reportedly been infected in Franklin County, which is where the university is located. Forty-five people affiliated with Ohio State University have developed mumps as of March 24.

That's up from just last Friday when the health department announced 56 people had been infected in Franklin County, with 40 of those cases linked to the Ohio State University community.

The outbreak expansion comes less than a week after a health official close to the case said the situation appeared to be a "recipe for a prolonged outbreak."

Cases associated with the university have occurred in men and women between the ages of 18 and 48, but the reach has been broader elsewhere in Franklin County, with diagnoses made in patients ranging from 4 to 55 years old.

Four of those infected have been hospitalized.

Mumps is spread through droplets of mucus and saliva from an infected individual. It can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by sharing cups or eating utensils, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The time between infection and symptoms can be anywhere from 12 to 25 days. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • headaches and fatigue
  • Eventual progression into swelling of the salivary glands

The highest risk for disease transmission occurs within five days after swelling begins.

The CDC reports that mumps can be prevented from two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Health officials say vaccinated people can still get infected in close-contact situations such as on a college campus or in other close-knit communities.

Health officials strongly encourage those who have not been vaccinated or have received only one of two doses of MMR to get a vaccine. In the U.S., children are recommended to receive the MMR vaccine on or after their first birthday, followed by a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age.

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