At least 69 cases of mumps have been reported in Ohio in an outbreak that started at Ohio State University in Columbus but has spread to people without ties to the school- a “disturbing development,” say public health officials.
Mumps is a viral disease leading to swollen salivary glands, headaches and fever. It is now considered rare in the United States and the number of cases reported annually has dropped 98 percent since the mumps vaccine was introduced in the 1960s, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mumps cases are being reported in Franklin County, Ohio, according to Columbus Public Health. Forty-five of the 69 cases are linked to the university outbreak, said Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for the health department.
Rodriguez said the majority of those infected had received at least one round of the vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella and it will be difficult to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak.
“It’s an easy disease to give and get, much like the flu or a cold, and it spreads in highly populated areas,” Rodriguez said.
Franklin County, which includes Columbus, typically sees one reported mumps case per year, Rodriguez said.
In a statement, Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long encouraged people to get vaccinated.
“Mumps can lead to serious complications in people who are not vaccinated, especially adults. It you have not been vaccinated against the mumps, or do not remember if you have received the protective vaccine, get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Cases of mumps were also reported at Fordham University in New York last month.
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