COLUMBUS -- Officials have released updated numbers in the mumps outbreak. According to Columbus Public Health, as of Wednesday, "269 mumps cases have been reported in Franklin and Delaware counties. To date, 162 cases have been linked to The Ohio State University outbreak."
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician, Frank Esper says the vast majority of all mumps virus infections are very benign.
"More often than not, those outbreaks begin because someone who is unvaccinated, usually from abroad, or someone who is unvaccinated traveled abroad acquired the virus and brings it back into the population," he explains.
Dorm living, like what you'd find on a college campus, is a breeding ground for the spread of a virus like mumps.
"Most of the case that we're seeing down in Columbus and in Central Ohio are mainly people who have actually had the vaccine before," Esper adds. "What happens is that's a great way to spread a virus, a dorm or throughout a campus and the intensity of the exposure to the mumps virus is greater than what most college students have from their vaccine based immunity."
As for the possibility of an OSU student visiting home and spreading mumps in Northeast Ohio, Dr. Espser says he believes the "transmission of what you'd see in the community is going to be a lot slower in a college area. For the most part because when they come back to their home and when they come back to the community, you're actually going into a very different type of scenario than what you have down in Columbus."
Esper recommends good hygiene and hand washing to prevent the spread of mumps and limited exposure with other family members. The mumps vaccine requires two doses.
"Not only are you protecting yourself when you get that immunization, but you're also protecting everyone else around you."
Columbus Public Health officials describe mumps as a respiratory virus that's "spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks."
Esper says he won't be surprised to hear about more cases coming out n the Columbus area as they're confirmed, by health officials.
"These do have a tendency to run their courses over a couple of weeks to a couple of months, we just don't know yet. But that's not to say that it's out of control that's just to say that that's kind of the normal course of one of these mini-epidemics."