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Health and Medicine

Ohio State mumps outbreak triggers vaccine and public health precautions
Ohio pushes public health warnings after mumps outbreak

Jo Ingles
The Ohio State outbreak of mumps has led to renewed emphasis on vaccinations.
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The outbreak of mumps at Ohio State University continues to worsen. There are now 37 confirmed cases among students, staff and others associated with the school. In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Jose’ Rodriguez with the Columbus Health Department says people should take precautions to prevent the spread of mumps.

LISTEN: Rodriguez and Ingles on mumps outbreak

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"According to Ohio State laws, we would be vaccinated for it when we are children and then we are also given a booster.So most of us should have two doses of MMR vaccine. And that should give us 80 to 90 percent protection from contracting this infection.

Rodriguez notes that the viral infection has struct staff, as well as students, at Ohio State, though most of them have been vaccinated.

"The vaccine is 80 to 90 percent effective, so even if it is effective, there is still some vulnerability that most of us will have of 10 to 20 percent of contracting the disease.

"I believe everything but one case has shown us some kind of evidence that they were vaccinated. That doesn’t mean that the person who may have brought the infection was vaccinated.
"There has been an anti-vaccine movement and some people choose not to be vaccinated. When that happens, everybody else is at risk because even those who have been vaccinated have a 10 to 20 percent chance we could become ill.
"That’s why we in public health often talk about a herd immunity factor that the majority of us who are protected, the better the health of the community will be.That’s why we have vaccine requirements in place."

So what are you telling people to try to avoid getting mumps? 

"If you are having symptoms of the mumps, you should contact your medical provider. You should do that immediately.  Because if you do have the mumps, you should be isolated. ... Stay away from friends, loved ones, fellow students so that you don’t infect them.
"Secondly, if you are not up to date on your MMR shots, you should be up to date. You really should speak to your medical provider.
"And third, you need to practice infection control.  ... If you are going to cough or sneeze, you need to cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve so that the droplets are not spread in the air.You also want to wash your hands so that you don’t cough or sneeze into your hands and touch surfaces. ... If you are sick, you need to stay away from others and stay home.

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