Mumps!

19 11 2009

Mumps, mumps, mumps.  Why are we having outbreaks of mumps?  The MMWR recently published info on the latest infections, and they say it’s the largest outbreak since 2006, when we had over 6,000 cases.  By comparison, this outbreak is puny, with 179 cases as of 30 October.

The majority of those infected (about 84%) are male, with an average age of 14 years.  It’s believed that at least 113 of those infected had “received age-appropriate vaccination.”  The fact that so many are vaccinated is good, but why are they still getting the disease?

The fact is, no vaccine is 100% effective for 100% of those vaccinated.  This is one of the reasons we need to keep community vaccination rates high, to prevent disease from coming into the community and infecting those who either can’t be vaccinated or those for whom the vaccine isn’t effective.

CDC states that the mumps vaccine effectiveness is estimated at 73% to 91% for 1 dose and 76% to 95% for 2 doses.  So there we are.

Maybe we need a booster shot for mumps like the one we have for pertussis.  Any immunologists out there want to hazard a guess?

In the meantime, get vaccinated and encourage those you know to do the same.

CDC explains what can happen when someone becomes infected:

Mumps is best known for the swelling of the cheeks and jaw that it causes, which is a result of swelling of the salivary glands. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications. The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.

Other rare complications include:
• Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis)
• Inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty
• Deafness

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