Ohio State mumps outbreak spreads off campus into community

The Columbus, Ohio skyline is seen in this undated image.
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Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

A mumps outbreak linked to Ohio State University's campus is now being considered a community-wide outbreak as more cases have been reported throughout Franklin County, Ohio, local health officials said Monday in an emailed press release.

Sixty-three people have been infected in Franklin County, Ohio -- the county where the Columbus university is located -- and 45 people affiliated with Ohio State University have developed mumps as of March 24.

Last Friday, the health department had announced 56 people had been infected in Franklin County, 40 of the cases linked to the Ohio State University community. The illnesses affiliated with the university have been occurring since mid-February, while the first illness in the community outbreak occurred in January.

Cases associated with the university have occurred in men and women between the ages of 18 and 48, while the community cases have occurred in residents of Columbus and Franklin County between 4 and 55 years old.

Four of those infected have been hospitalized.

Mumps can be prevented from two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, but health officials say vaccinated people can still get infected in close-contact situations such as on a college campus or in close-knit communities.

"During a community outbreak, protection against mumps is critical to our good health, our family's health, and our community's health," Dr. Teresa C. Long, Columbus Public Health Commissioner, said in a statement, adding people who are not vaccinated might be at risk for serious complications of the disease. "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."

Mumps is spread through droplets of mucus and saliva from an infected individual. It can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by sharing cups or eating utensils, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The time between infection and symptoms can be anywhere from 12 to 25 days. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue, before progressing into swelling of the salivary glands. The highest risk for disease transmission occurs within five days after swelling begins.

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

Columbus health officials urge people who have not been vaccinated or have received only one of two doses of MMR to get a vaccine. Children are recommended to receive the MMR vaccine on or after their first birthday, followed by a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age.

The CDC told CBS News last Friday 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.