A confirmed mumps outbreak on the the Ohio State campus is causing growing concern to the surrounding areas.
Sixteen confirmed mumps cases were reported this morning, and with students on spring break, health officials fear the outbreak could spread to surrounding areas.
"Usually with outbreaks, breaks are good because it allows the infectious agent to go away," said Kristen Baker,South East Regional Epidemiologist. "However, because mumps has such a long incubation period, they're figuring that this outbreak will actually last longer now that people are on spring break. They're returning home and could infect other people."
The long incubation period for mumps means anyone could be carrying the virus and not show symptoms for up to 25 days. During this period they can still be spreading and infecting people they come in contact with.
The mumps is spread the same way as the flu. Coughing and sharing saliva as well as any kind of respiratory secretions. Practice good cough etiqiette, stay away from ill people, and wash your hands regularly to help prevent the mumps.
Mumps is covered in the standard MMR immunization, however, you can still contract a less severe case of the virus. There is no treatment for the disease. Doctors recommend isolation and seclusion during the infectious period of the virus.
For more information on the mumps, visit the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/mumps or call 800-CDC-INFO.