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Mumps outbreak at Ohio State a threat despite vaccinations


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With 21 cases of mumps reported at and around Ohio State, students are being advised that a vaccination will not completely guard them from infection.

Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health, said Saturday 21 cases had been reported as of Friday.

“Seventeen are OSU students, one is a staff member, one is a family member, and two have community links to OSU students,” Rodriguez said.

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.

Those 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.

Rodriguez said notices have been issued to health departments across the country because many potential carriers left Columbus for spring break.

“We’re hopeful that students will come back healthy and safe, but because there is a (15 to 25 day) incubation period, we know there is a possibility that we’re going to see new cases,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said those who have received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine still have a 10 to 20 percent chance of being infected.

Rodriguez called the group of cases in the outbreak “highly vaccinated,” meaning most of the people had their vaccinations.

“Even within folks that are vaccinated, they are still at risk of illness,” Rodriguez said.

OSU students are not required to get an MMR vaccination unless it is a specific requirement for their program, as is the case for some medical programs, according to the Student Health Services website. Students interested in a vaccination are able to receive one through health services after a screening.

Rodriguez said students who have not been vaccinated should seek vaccination immediately, but he said every student needs to practice “common sense” and take precautions.

“If you’re sick, you need to be isolated,” Rodriguez said. “You need to wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and especially stay home if you’re sick … don’t share personal utensils, cigarettes, drinks.”

Rodriguez said one-third of those infected with mumps are just carriers who don’t show symptoms of the disease.

“(Carriers) don’t get a chance to isolate,” Rodriguez said.

He said those infected at OSU have been encouraged to isolate themselves.

OSU spokeswoman Liz Cook said in an email Friday OSU has a plan to defend students from mumps.

“In anticipation of classes resuming and students’ return to campus, the university will be working proactively — broadening its communications efforts and heightening awareness to keep students informed, lessen the risk of infection through proper hygiene practices and, in the event of illness, where to get medical treatment,” Cook said.

Cook said OSU is working with Columbus Public Health and the CDC to investigate the cases.

Rodriguez said OSU has been sending samples to the CDC for testing.

“It does take a little longer (to send them to the CDC) … but accuracy in testing is critical and really important to any investigation like this,” Rodriguez said.

The university sent an official statement and answers to some frequently asked questions in Sunday’s Buckeye Net News newsletter, which Cook said is sent to all students. She said similar messages would be sent to faculty and staff.

OSU also plans to leverage its health-related social media and deliver posters to on- and off-campus locations to encourage healthy habits, Cook said.

There was recently a mumps outbreak at Fordham University in New York, with 13 suspected cases reported as of Feb. 21, but Rodriguez said there is no evidence of a connection to the OSU outbreak.

Rodriguez said epidemiologists will say when the outbreak is over in a public statement. The outbreak will be considered over once there are only one or two cases in the community and that number holds for a certain number of weeks, Rodriguez said.

For now, the most Columbus Public Health can do is connect as many cases as possible, Rodriguez said.

“We are … contacting every (infected person) immediately so we can start gathering information as soon as we can, and start putting the puzzle together,” Rodriguez said.

Haiwei Su, a fourth-year in applied mathematics, said he is focusing on staying healthy.

“You’re pretty safe as long as you don’t have exposure,” Su said. “I wash my hands … just focus on my own hygiene.”

Stephen Zhou, a third-year in marketing, said there was concern about the outbreak while he was in Florida on a Buck-I-SERV trip through OSU.

“Our adviser (on the trip) said to pay attention to symptoms while we were there,” Zhou said. “Luckily, nobody had any symptoms.”

Robert Maupin, a fourth-year in logistics, said he had cold-like symptoms over the weekend, which worried him because he knew about the outbreak.

“But it ended up being just a cold,” Maupin said.

Maupin said he is not vaccinated for mumps, but he isn’t concerned about catching it.

“I probably wouldn’t turn down a vaccine if I was offered it, though,” Maupin said.


  1. Do people really know what they are putting in their body when they have the MMR jab. Auto immune disease is always a danger when injecting human cells into the body as they are similar to our own.

    According to the U.S. manufacturer, Merck & Company, Inc., the current MMR vaccine — MMR-II — contains attenuated live measles and mumps viruses propagated in chick embryo cell culture, plus “the Wistar RA 27/3 strain of live attenuated rubella virus propagated in WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts.”(1) Principal studies published in theAmerican Journal of Diseases of Childrenand the American Journal of Epidemiology, reveal that the rubella strain was cultured from an aborted human fetus.(2,3) In addition, the growth medium for the three live viruses that are needed to produce the MMR vaccine is a buffered salt solution “supplemented with fetal bovine serum.”(4) Other ingredients include sucrose, phosphate, glutamate, recombinant human albumin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin stabilizer, and approximately 25 mcg of neomycin (an antibiotic).(5)

  2. Judy, you should tell the parents of this dead 4 year old that even though their baby died from mumps, at least other people’s children weren’t getting eird chemical concoctions of stuff that saves lives. Ew! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5982476/Four-year-old-dies-after-being-diagnosed-with-mumps.html

  3. Al the problem is only going to get worse because the vaccine only lasts for a few years and adults hardly ever get the vaccine. Therefore the adults are spreading it, not the children. In my time, we all got these childhood diseases and i knew nobody who was badly effected and we had a lifetime immunity. Children these days have to have constant toxic containing vaccines which also shed. The very fact that the vaccines reduce symptoms but allow actively shedding people to continue work amongst others should be a concern.

    There are many side effects with the MMR and only 1% of side effects are reported through the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. No long term studies are done between vaxxed and unvaxxed people.This could be done retrospectively but isn’t.

    “This is the story of the MMR vaccine and two Merck scientists who filed a lawsuit in 2010 over Merck’s efforts to allegedly “defraud the United States through Merck’s ongoing scheme to sell the government a mumps vaccine that is mislabeled, misbranded, adulterated and falsely certified as having an efficacy rate that is significantly higher than it actually is.” Merck allegedly did this from 2000 onwards in order to maintain its exclusive license to sell the MMR vaccine and keep its monopoly of the US market.”


  4. AJ did you even read that article?! It says, “The exact cause of death has not yet been established, but deaths following mumps are very rare.

    If confirmed, Lisa would be the first death in a mumps patient for more than nine years and over 65,000 cases.”

    Um, it was not confirmed that her death was because of mumps.

  5. How about going the next step, and report on the current lawsuit by former Merck employees who say they were forced to falsify records, including effectiveness reports, on the mumps vaccine? http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/27/47851.htm

  6. Judy nothing is 100% safe but not vaccinating is stupid and hurts the entire community! I wish it were only people not vaccinated that could contract these diseases. Then it truly would be a decision that each parent could make based on junk science. But these unvaccinated kids do not live in a bubble. Measles are now an epidemic in the UK where they have 20% of kids parents opting out. Here in the US we are around 10%. Sadly babies are not able to get the MEN until they are a year old and a booster until they are 4, so the victims of parents not vaccinating are those poor little kids. To feel that you are keeping your kids safe, which isn’t even true, at the expense of others is selfish and stupid. When these diseases return with a vengeance, only then will these selfish parents wake up and try to protect their kids, which they should have already done, but not before others die or are disabled through no fault of their own. Make your own decisions but don’t spread your ignorance and realize that through the decision not to vaccinate you have a part in the consequences to everyone.

  7. Jeffrey M Diederich

    Trust the government. No way there is a corporate intrest in people getting sick.Dont ask, dont research, just stay in the herd and obey.

  8. Even though we were vaccinated, the five children in my family all got mumps- at the same time.
    Interesting that we didn’t know anyone else that had mumps- it just struck us.

  9. My concern is also that mumps vaccine (MMR) is one of the vaccines that has a high reporting of side effects on the Vaccination Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Since only 1% are ever reported – it is a vaccine not to be taken lightly. Also when I was a child it was a mild disease and there is evidence that Vitamin D, Vitamin A,Sunshine, good nutrition will help childen recover quickly as happened with myself, my children and grandchildren. I was able to pass the immunity on to my children through my breast milk keeping my children safe when babies – women these days do not have this ability as vaccines do not confer immunity. The vaccine wears off quickly and adults get the disease when it causes quite considerable problems. Also there is evidence that children that get measles naturally have less asthma. Natural immunity emphasises TH1. Vaccines stimulate TH2 which are associated with auto-immune disease asthma lupus etc.

  10. ” If you look around, how many healthy children would you see? Childhood asthma, eczema, diabetes, allergies, hay fever, digestive disorders, ADHD and autistic spectrum disorders have all gained epidemic proportions! The majority of siblings of autistic children have eczema, asthma or another one of those disorders. And though all these health problems appear to be different, they have one thing in common. A very big thing – a compromised immune system with suppressed Th1 and overactive Th2 parts of the immunity. These two opposing arms of the immune system normally should be in balance. But in these children they are out of balance reducing the body’s ability to fight infections and predisposing the child to allergies and autoimmune reactions. A compromised immune system is not going to react to environmental insults in the normal way! Vaccination is a huge insult for the immune system. The manufacturers of vaccines produce them for children with normal immune systems which will react to these vaccines in a normal way. And perhaps 50 or even less years ago the majority of children had normal immune systems, so vaccination was producing the expected results of protection against infections without any harm for the body. However, in our modern society with our modern way of life we are rapidly moving to a situation where a growing proportion of children do not have a normal immune system and will not produce an expected reaction to the vaccine. In some of these children vaccination, putting an enormous strain on an already compromised immune system, becomes that “last straw which breaks the camel’s back” and brings on the beginning of autism, asthma, eczema, diabetes, etc.. In other children, whose immune system is compromised to a lesser degree, vaccination will not start the disorder, but it will deepen the damage and move the child closer to it.”

  11. If you read the raw date from the CDC, VAERS, and FDA surveillance reports, the truth becomes very clear.
    There are far more injuries and deaths from the MMR vaccine then from the three diseases combined. Based on this fact, plus taking in to consideration that measles and mumps were significantly declining before the vaccine was introduced, the decision to not vaccinate is simple.

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