Mumps outbreak in Ohio nearly doubles this month

Two doses of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine are recommended to reduce the risk and severity of illness. AP

A mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases, public health officials said Monday.

A total of 212 cases of the contagious viral illness, have been reported in the Columbus area, with 132 of those linked to Ohio State University. That includes 96 students and 13 staff members.

Those infected range in age from 9 months to 70 years old, local health agencies said. The outbreak first began in January, with the latest cases reported this week.

The number of mumps cases has risen steadily over the past few weeks, from 63 known cases at the end of March to 116 in early April to 212 today.

State and local health officials are urging residents and Ohio State students to make sure they are properly vaccinated with two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, known as MMR.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is no longer common in the United States since routine vaccination programs began, though outbreaks do occur. Before the vaccination programs began, about 186,000 cases were reported annually but have since seen a decrease of more than 99 percent, according to the CDC website.

Mumps often starts with fever, fatigue and body aches. Those infected are urged to stay home, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.

In rare cases, complications like deafness and brain swelling might occur.

The CDC told CBS News last month that the agency is monitoring the outbreak. While the vaccine isn't perfect -- two doses are about 88 percent effective -- people who have received the shot and develop mumps may not get as sick, spokesman Jason McDonald said.

"If they do get mumps, people who have been vaccinated are likely to have less severe illness than unvaccinated people with mumps," he said.


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