TIME Disease

Ohio Mumps Outbreak Spreads Beyond University Walls

Outbreak began in Ohio State University, but health officials in Columbus say virus is now affecting people with no links to the campus

An outbreak of mumps that has infected 56 people in Ohio has spread beyond Ohio State University, where it originated, and is now afflicting community members with no relationship to the university.

Among the 56 cases, Reuters reports that 40 are either Ohio State students, faculty, or people with connections to the campus. However, health officials in Columbus said Monday the most recent cases of the disease involve people who have no ties to the school, which makes the outbreak even more troubling.

Mumps, which causes painful swelling of the salivary glands, is a vaccine-preventable disease, and it’s believed that the outbreak could be tied to people who for whatever reason are not vaccinated. However, this is difficult to determine since many of the people infected did have at least one round of vaccinations for the disease. The vaccine for mumps requires two doses, and even with the full dosage, it is 88 percent effective, meaning it’s still possible for people with the vaccine to get infected.

Still, cases of mumps have dropped 98 percent since the vaccine was introduced in the 1960s, which underlines the success of vaccinations in preventing outbreaks of these rare diseases.

[Reuters]

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