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Ohio school district excludes unvaccinated students

The Ohio mumps outbreak has forced officials in the Olentangy Local Schools to exclude several students from classes due to their unvaccinated status. In an April 19 announcement, the school district stated that the students would be excluded for the 25 day incubation period for mumps, unless they produced “documentation of a full MMR vaccination.” The school has not released the number of students involved or their school building.

Anna Hermsen, 20, receives a mumps, measles and rubella vaccination shot from nurse Jan Bush on April 27, 2006 in Iowa City, Iowa.
Photo by Mark Kegans/Getty Images

The nation's largest mumps outbreak is taking place in and around the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus. The latest report, from April 18, is that there have been 244 cases of mumps in 11 Ohio counties this year. OSU is directly linked to 151 cases, including 105 students. In all, seven patients have required hospitalization. Columbus is Ohio's capital.

KMOX in St. Louis reported on April 18 that the state of Illinois has been notified of 65 mumps cases thus far in 2014, more than double the 26 cases in all of 2013. The Illinois mumps outbreak is centered in two counties, Morgan and Sangamon. There have been 52 cases in those two counties, with most appearing in patients ages 30-50. Sangamon county contains the city of Springfield, the capital of Illinois, and a campus of the University of Illinois.

In Wisconsin, a mumps outbreak is underway at the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus and in the local community. On April 16, WKOW reported two new mumps cases on campus, for a total of five, and five non-students with the illness in the community. More cases are suspected. Madison is Wisconsin's state capital.

The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed, on April 17, that eight students at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken had mumps. The state and the university have not released information about the patients but several media reports state that all eight are male, and either in the same fraternity or on the lacrosse team. The Department of Health notes:

Outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings. In recent years, outbreaks have occurred in schools, colleges, and camps.

Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin are among the 22 states that allow parents to exempt their children from immunizations based upon a personal belief or philosophical difference. Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin do not require that their student be immunized to attend. All three states routinely experience sizable pertussis outbreaks, with Ohio currently accounting for over ten percent of all whooping cough cases in the nation for 2014.

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