Vaccine preventable illnesses are coming back as vaccination rates in the U.S. continue to decrease


CLEVELAND -- Doctors aren't really surprised to see outbreaks of childhood diseases that we have vaccinations for.

The mumps outbreak in Columbus at Ohio State University is now over 230 cases. The majority of which stems from students on campus.

Dr. Amy Edwards is an infectious disease expert at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. She says part of the problem is that parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children.

"Vaccine preventable illnesses are coming back as vaccination rates in the U.S. continue to decrease. We went through a pertussis outbreak last year, we've had measles, mumps this is just the world we now live in as people choose not to vaccinate their children," Edwards says.

With the mumps vaccine, MMR that contains protection against measles, mumps and rubella, a child is recommended to get two doses after their first and fourth birthdays. However, Edwards says the vaccine is not perfect. It's about 80 percent to 90 percent effective for most of the population, but there are some people who become vaccinated, yet are not immune to the virus.

Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection with an incubation period that can last two and a half weeks before symptoms appear.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, loss of appetite and the tell-tale sign of the swelling of the salivary glands in the neck.

Mumps is spread through respiratory droplets and direct contact with those who are infected.

It's not uncommon to occur on college campuses. About a third of patients will have no symptoms.

Two thirds will have the main symptoms and 10 percent of those may get rare complications that can lead to encephalitis, sterility or deafness.

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