Could Ohio State's mumps outbreak spread to northeast Ohio - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Could Ohio State's mumps outbreak spread to northeast Ohio

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The Ohio State University mumps outbreak is now community-wide with 63 cases throughout Franklin County.

So the big question is could the outbreak spread to us here in northeast Ohio?

Here's the alarming thing about the cases in and around Ohio State: Franklin County normally only gets one case per year.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health says there are no mumps alerts in our area but doctors say you should always be cautious.

The mumps are highly contagious.

The outbreak that started with students at Ohio State two weeks ago has spread into the Columbus community surrounding the school.

Of the 63 cases, 18 involve people in Franklin county who have no link to the OSU community.

One local expert says there are some unique things about the Columbus area.

"They have a large immigrant population there and so you're going to have adults who came in who may not have had the disease as children and who are vulnerable. And then you may have children who have not been fully immunized," Lolita McDavid M.D. of University Hospitals said.

To be fully immunized, children get a vaccine at one year old and then again between four and six.

That provides about 90% protection against the disease.

So far, we haven't heard about any mumps cases in our area but it is easily spread through things like coughs and sneezes.

Symptoms are high fever, aches and fatigue just like the flu and mumps can be very serious.

"You can have meningitis which is an inflammation of the covering of your brain. You can have orchitis which is an inflammation in your testes and can leave you infertile. You can be deaf from having mumps, so it's not just a childhood illness that you get and you're over it," said Dr. Lolita McDavid.

The last Ohio mumps outbreak was in 2010 when 18 cases were reported in Lake and Cuyahoga Counties.

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