Updated Tue, Apr 22, 2014 10:39 am
Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has topped 250 cases. That's more than half of the nation's 438 reported cases last year.
The total as of Monday was 253 cases of the contagious viral illness, with 153 of those linked to Ohio State University. That includes 109 students and 17 staff members.
Local health agencies say those infected range in age from 9 months to 80 years old. The cases span from early January to last week.
Mumps often starts with fever, fatigue and body aches. Those infected are urged to stay home, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.
Officials say local cases have included inflammation of the testicles and ovaries, deafness and hospitalizations.
Ohio State Vaccinates For Mumps After Outbreak
Ohio State University has started a campaign to vaccinate more students and employees against mumps as an outbreak continues to spread.
Interim President Joseph Alutto sent a university-wide email Monday urging those who are most susceptible to the virus to receive two doses of the vaccine unless they can document that they have already been immunized.
Alutto said in the email that it wasn't required but compliance is "strongly recommended."
The Columbus Dispatch reports that OSU will administer vaccines at four locations on campus.
Alutto had already assembled a team this month to combat the outbreak on the Ohio State campus. As of Monday, more than 250 mumps cases had been reported in Franklin and Delaware counties in central Ohio, including 153 cases linked to OSU.