YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A mumps outbreak is impacting Columbus right now. And a measles outbreak has popped up in California.
But why are these afflictions making a comeback? The answer could be in who is getting vaccinated.
In Columbus, 82 people have contracted mumps. The outbreak originated at Ohio State University, but catching the virus today is rare. Dr. John Venglarcik, medical director of the Mahoning County Health Department, said 90 percent of the population is immune to mumps.
Mumps is part of the MMR vaccine: Measles, mumps, and rubella. Most children receive immunizations for the viruses. However, some parents opted not to inoculate their children after a study claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. That study has since been proven false.
“There is no link. There are over 1,000 studies that have been done looking for any correlation,” said Venglarcik. “There is no correlation.”
Venglarcik said the study linking autism to immunizations contained false data and has been pulled from all medical texts, but the damage is done and some parents refuse to inoculate, allowing viruses to spread.
“We have this proportion of kids who are freshman in college, seniors in high school, who are not immune to mumps,” said Venglarcik.
Another rare virus, measles, has been popping up in California. It causes fevers, rashes, and coughs, even brain swelling and death. With complications like that, many people think immunizations are essential.
“When we had them as kids, there were never any outbreaks,” said Youngstown resident Virgil Ballew. “They must have been a good thing to have.”
Mike Kennedy contracted Mumps in the past, describing it as very painful.
“I would recommend getting the vaccination. If there is a chance it could prevent you getting it, it is worth it,” said Kennedy.
Venglarcik said the only way to ensure you won’t get the virus is to get vaccinated. “Unless you live in a bubble, you really are not going to keep yourself away from this,” he said.
Adults who may be unsure if they were vaccinated can get a blood test. Vaccinations for children should be on record at their doctor’s office.