(RxWiki News) An outbreak of the infectious disease, mumps, that was discovered on a university campus in Ohio has now spread wider, leading health officials to remind the public about vaccinations.
Mumps, which can be prevented through routine vaccination, can in some cases lead to serious health effects. Over 50 cases have now been discovered in the Ohio outbreak.
Officials in Columbus, Ohio urged the unvaccinated public to get vaccinated and all members of the community to take precautions.
"Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze."
The outbreak started in February on The Ohio State University campus, located in Columbus, Ohio. On March 24, local health authorities reported that the outbreak has spread to the greater community of Franklin County.
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus, through the air or through contact with an infected item. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus usually causes symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches and swollen salivary glands, but can sometimes lead to more serious complications, including inflammation of the brain, ovaries or testicles.
According to Columbus Public Health, 56 cases of mumps had been reported in Franklin County as of Friday, March 21. Forty cases had been tied directly to the outbreak at The Ohio State University.
Patients tied to the university have been between the ages of 18 and 48, while patients in the larger community have been between the ages of 4 and 50 years old.
The disease is now routinely vaccinated against in the US using the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which has led to it's near disappearance, explained CDC.
It is advised that children receive one dose when they are 12 to 15 months old and the second dose when they are 4 to 6 years old.
According to the CDC, two doses of the vaccination are, on average, considered 88 percent effective at preventing mumps, and one dose is 78 percent effective.
In a statement from Columbus Public Health, Commissioner Teresa C. Long, MD, highlighted the serious nature of the situation and urged the public to take action if necessary.
“During a community outbreak, protection against mumps is critical to our good health, our family’s health, and our community’s health. Mumps can lead to serious complications in people who are not vaccinated, especially adults," said Dr. Long. "If 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.”
Columbus Public Health asked the public to contact their doctor, a healthcare center, the public health department or their student health center about receiving an MMR vaccine.