The number of mumps cases in Franklin County has risen to more than 100, and some OSU students said they’re concerned for their health.
As of Friday afternoon, 103 mumps cases had been reported in Franklin County, 81 of which were linked to the Ohio State outbreak, according to a Columbus Public Health release.
That was an increase of 16 cases from Thursday’s 87 total reported cases.
The release said 66 OSU students have mumps, as well as nine OSU staff members, five people with OSU links and one family member of someone with OSU ties.
The Franklin County outbreak has affected people from 4 to 58 years old, with 54 women and 49 men diagnosed. The onset of the first case connected to the outbreak was Jan. 7.
The onset of the first case connected to the OSU outbreak, though, 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.
Some OSU students said they’re being extra careful because of the outbreak.
“It’s making me a lot more conscious about who I meet and interact with,” said Yaadata Abdalhalim, a first-year in chemical engineering. “I try to be more clean … wash my hands more often.”
Abdalhalim said though he’s a commuter, he often visits his friends who live in the dorms, but that’s changed recently.
“A lot of my friends live in the dorms, and usually I go visit them to hang out on the weekends and during social times. But the dorms are very condensed, so I have been visiting them less often,” he said.
Jack Wilbur, a second-year in chemical engineering, said he’s concerned about the outbreak’s spread.
“I initially overlooked (the first safety release), but I kept getting more emails and then I saw about it on the news, so it’s hard to ignore,” Wilbur said. “I look for hand sanitizer dispensers, I wash my hands more often, and I try to avoid using the handrails in busy stairwells, stuff like that.”
The Columbus Public Health releases encouraged anyone who has not received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to get vaccinations.
Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health, said earlier this month those who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine still have a 10 to 20 percent chance of being infected.
OSU students interested in a vaccination are able to receive one through health services after a screening.
OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Joseph Steinmetz sent an email to faculty and staff March 19 asking them to support anyone affected by the outbreak.
“(University) precautions include Student Health Services and Columbus Public Health’s urging students who have fallen ill with mumps to stay home and avoid school, work and other public settings for five days after their symptoms appear,” Steinmetz said. “If you have such students in your classes, I ask that you offer them all reasonable accommodation to make up … work they’ve missed while sparing their classmates from possible infection.”