Health Expert: Local Mumps Outbreak Could Have Global Effect

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Columbus Public Health officials plan to ramp up a mumps immunization campaign this summer. Health Commissioner Dr. Theresa Long said the central Ohio outbreak could spread to other parts of the country.(Photo: Flickr: Sonafi Pasteur)
Columbus Public Health officials plan to ramp up a mumps immunization campaign this summer. Health Commissioner Dr. Theresa Long said the central Ohio outbreak could spread to other parts of the country.(Photo: Flickr: Sonafi Pasteur)

Health experts say the central Ohio mumps outbreak has the potential to extend far beyond Ohio’s borders.

Three-hundred-sixty-six Ohioans have contracted mumps with the majority of the cases in Columbus city limits, but there have been cases in southeastern and southwestern Ohio.

Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Theresa Long expects to see more cases throughout the state. And she said this outbreak could spread much further as the summer vacation season takes hold.

“We actually have more than half the cases of the entire country are right here,” she said. “[But] as our students and the rest of us travel we may well expose others in other parts of our country and really around the globe.”

Dr. Long, who is expected to address the Columbus Board of Health Monday afternoon, said Ohio is the only state in the country that does not require licensed child care facilities to follow national immunization guidelines. She said Ohio House Bill 536 proposes to change that.

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