Doctors across the country are seeing more and more cases of mumps. The virus is highly contagious, spreads quickly and can cause some serious long term health issues.
Two months into 2017 and the CDC is already reporting more than 1,200 cases of mumps nationwide.
“Throughout the last couple of decades we’ve certainly had spotty outbreaks,” said Dr. Camile Sabella, the Cleveland Clinic Director of the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
Spotty, he says, because outbreaks are generally contained to populations living in small areas, in particular, college campuses, where many of this year’s 1,200 cases are confined to.
“People are living in close quarters, a lot of time they’re sharing towels, sharing drinks and the virus is really spread through coughing and through direct contact. So the closer the quarters are, the more likely the virus is going to spread among individuals,” said Sabella.
Not only that, Sabella says not as many people are being vaccinated that once were. Combine that with the vaccine being roughly 90 percent effective and the recipe is ripe for an outbreak.
“Make sure that they’ve received all of their childhood vaccinations and certainly before going to college, that’s a really good time to make sure that you’ve received not only two doses of MMR vaccine but also there’s a very effective meningitis vaccine also,” said Sabella.
We are well on track to beat last year’s number of more than 5,000 mumps cases and while there haven’t been many cases of mumps seen yet in Ohio, Cleveland area universities that News 5 reached out to all said they're monitoring any local cases and have plans in place to handle an outbreak on campus.