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Ohio State officials warn potential campus visitors of mumps outbreak

April 6, 2014

Melissa Prax

Some Ohio State officials advised anyone without a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to avoid campus this weekend.

“If anyone who is planning to visit campus this weekend has not been vaccinated against the mumps for any reason, Ohio State’s medical experts recommend that you do not attend. While we do not want to exclude anyone from participating, it is important to keep all members of the extended Ohio State family as safe and healthy as possible,” said Ryan Lovell, senior director of parent, family and alumni relations and Greek Life for Student Life, in an email Wednesday to people who planned to participate in Sibs and Kids Weekend. “Though vaccinated individuals may still get the mumps, the vaccine greatly lowers the number of people who get sick when exposed to the virus.”

During OSU’s Sibs and Kids Weekend, which is Friday through Sunday, OSU students, faculty and staff can invite their siblings or other relatives to campus for various events and activities.

But as of Friday, 150 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have been diagnosed with mumps, according to a Columbus Public Health release. Of those cases, 99 have been linked to an OSU outbreak.

The email warning potential visitors of the outbreak was sent after consulting with OSU medical experts, said university spokeswoman Liz Cook.

“To ensure that our guests have full information to make the best decision about attendance, we sent an email message to event attendees,” Cook said. “Ohio State will continue to work closely with Columbus Public Health to monitor and respond to cases of mumps.”

Some students said they plan to keep their siblings away from the disease by showing them off-campus areas and other places around Columbus.

“My sister is 12, I’m so scared even though she’s vaccinated,” said Britnee Dunfee, a second-year in psychology. “We’re trying to go around Columbus (to places) like Sky Zone (indoor trampoline park).”

The onset of the first case connected to the Franklin County outbreak was Jan. 7, while the first case connected to OSU was Feb. 10.

Mumps is a viral infection of the salivary glands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. It can spread through coughing, sneezing or contact with saliva or mucus. 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.


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