COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 18 (UPI) -- There are 28 cases of mumps involving students, staff and others connected to Ohio State University in Columbus, and more cases are expected.
Liz Cook, a spokeswoman for Ohio State, said students returned to classes Monday after spring break and with an incubation period as long as 25 days, more cases of mumps are expected, the Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday.
Everyone connected to the campus of more than 57,000 students is being told to practice good hand hygiene and cough-and-sneeze etiquette, and to be alert to symptoms of mumps -- fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, inflammation of the testicles in men, swollen and tender salivary glands. If sick with mumps, students and staff are urged to stay home and not spread the disease further.
The university does not require students to be vaccinated with the MMR vaccine -- measles, mumps and rubella -- but even those who have had two doses of the MMR vaccine still have a 10 percent to 20 percent chance of getting mumps because the vaccine does not perform at 100 percent, Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health told the Ohio State student newspaper.
Rodriguez said students who haven't been vaccinated should do so immediately but every student needs to practice commonsense and take precautions.
"If you're sick, you need to be isolated," Rodriguez told the student newspaper the Lantern. "You need to wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and especially stay home if you're sick. ... Don't share personal utensils, cigarettes, drinks."
Rodriguez said a third of those infected with mumps are carriers who don't show symptoms of the disease but can give it to others. Since many students might have been infected before the break, those who had close contact with someone connected to Ohio State should be alert to mumps and its symptoms. There is no specific treatment for mumps and it is usually takes a week or two to recover, health officials said.