Mumps Cases Top 150 In Two Central Ohio Counties

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A milestone has been achieved in the central Ohio mumps outbreak.

100 cases are now connected to Ohio State University.

The university and community health departments are promoting vaccination, isolation and infection control to try to slow the outbreak.

Still, the numbers keep creeping up: 153 total cases now in Franklin and Delaware Counties.

"The outbreak is literally growing, numbers are increasing, and it's exactly what we expected," said the Columbus Health Department's Jose Rodriguez.

He says he has no clue how far and wide this mumps outbreak may spread.

Asked if the outbreak could go into the thousands, Rodriguez said, “Why couldn't it? It definitely could. When we look at other outbreaks around the nation, for example, the state of Iowa had close to 10,000 cases of the mumps outbreak, so that's pretty significant. And we look at other situations in which they've had several hundred cases, so there's really no way to tell where we're going to go.  It all depends on what we do now."

Ohio State Interim President Joe Alutto has formed a new committee of university and local health officials to look at the ongoing outbreak and how to prevent and handle future outbreaks.

Rodriguez believes it's a step in the right direction.

"When we talk to our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we keep asking that question, ‘what could we be doing differently, what are we missing here? Is there anything else that we could be doing?’” Rodriguez added.  “And it's been reassuring that so far, what they're telling us, is that we are doing exactly what they expect us to do."

Rodriguez reminds us that everyone in the community must protect themselves as the outbreak continues.

"The complications with this can be serious,” he said.  “We're seeing five cases of Orchitis, which is the swelling of the testicles, and that can lead to infertility."

Of the 153 cases reported in Franklin and Delaware counties, one person has also gone deaf, which is an extreme, rare symptom, but also possible - and it could be permanent.