Though the number of mumps cases at and near Ohio State continues to rise, some students said they aren’t concerned. The outbreak, however, is only the latest at OSU, where recorded cases of the mumps stretch back more than 100 years.
Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health, said in an email Tuesday there have been 28 cases of mumps reported as of Tuesday.
Of those cases, 23 are OSU students, one is an OSU staff member, one is a family member of an OSU student, staff or faculty member and three have community links to OSU, Rodriguez said.
The recent outbreak contributes to a long history of mumps at OSU, according to Lantern archives.
Outbreaks have reached student-athletes, agricultural students and clubs in the past, while some student groups studying medicine have hoped for an outbreak, according to the archives.
The disease is one Lauren Boyce, a second-year in speech and hearing science and linguistics, said she thought was in the past.
“I was very surprised to hear that there was a mumps outbreak. I guess I just assumed that the mumps virus was long dead, and I did not realize there was still the possibility of a mumps outbreak with modern vaccines and technology,” she said.
Boyce also said, though, she’s not too worried about catching mumps.
“I don’t think the mumps outbreak is too big of a deal. It seems like every few years there is an outbreak of one disease or another, and it will all go away in due time,” she said.
According to the CDC website, the disease can be carried without any symptoms.
Those who are affected by mumps might have swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw on the side of the face, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and inflammation of the testicles in men, according to the CDC. The website also says there is no specific treatment for mumps, but it is usually gone in a week or two.
Although some current students might not think of mumps as a serious issue, for a student-athlete in 1950, mumps proved to be a bigger obstacle than jumping over hurdles.
Ray Hamilton was scheduled to be OSU’s leading hurdler for the 1950 indoor track season until he came down with the mumps. The illness caused him to miss too many classes, resulting in Hamilton dropping out of school in February 1950 with plans to return for Spring Quarter, according to Lantern archives.
Hamilton rejoined the team during the spring 1951 season.
In 1948, male students in one dorm on campus were afraid one of their fellow residents was showing signs of the mumps. None of them, however, were willing to drive the student to the hospital, but eventually a man who believed he had mumps several years earlier volunteered.
“An hour later, the boys were back with the verdict — swollen glands. The sighs of relief could be heard as far as High Street,” the article read.
Ten years earlier, in 1938, a headline in The Lantern read, “Nice epidemic would delight med students.”
The student medical council said in a meeting at the time, they would “consider an epidemic of mumps or measles a great aid,” the article read, in order to have more hospital patients on whom to practice.
The president of the council said at the time it was a “blow to the council to discover the patient list has dropped to an appalling low for the year.”
An OSU student had to withdraw from school in 1928 because he had mumps. While sick, his father came to campus to ask about his son’s status in school and met a doctor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The father “was so impressed by what the doctor told him and what he saw of the school that he decided to enter school with his son (the following) fall,” the article read.
In 1925, the French club performed “Bluebeard” instead of the originally scheduled play, “Thirteen at Dinner,” because the lead of the latter play had mumps.
And in 1909, 105 years ago, an outbreak of mumps affected a group of about 40 agricultural students and “prevented (them from) attending classes” that week, according to the archives.
Being cautious around sick friends is still a worry for students today because of the current outbreak.
Matt Schilling, a first-year in communication, said he has been taking the extra time to sanitize things lately. He said if a friend caught mumps, his concern would increase.
“If someone that you know gets the mumps, that should spark the concern that you have for yourself and the people around you because if it is someone that you know, it gives you a high chance of getting it,” he said.