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Surge in Mumps Outbreaks Seen Across the US

The United States is experiencing its biggest mumps outbreak in years, causing a surge of cases across the country after several years of relatively few cases. This has prompted health officials to take steps to prevent further spread of the disease.

The United States is experiencing its biggest mumps outbreak in years, causing a surge of cases across the country after several years of relatively few cases. This has prompted health officials to take steps to prevent further spread of the disease.

BIGGEST OUTBREAK IN A DECADE

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the number of mumps cases reported this year so far in the United States is 4,258. By this time in 2015, only 1,141 cases of mumps had been reported across the country. The last time there was a bigger mumps outbreak was in 2006, when there were more than 6,500 reported cases.

MUMPS SPREADING IN UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOLS

Colleges and schools have been hit hard by the current mumps outbreak. The mumps virus is a contagious disease spread easily through close contact; students who share classrooms, live in the same dormitory, and are part of sports teams can easily transmit the virus to one another.

MUMPS IN MIZZOU

An outbreak at the University of Missouri, first reported in early November, has now grown to at least 193 confirmed cases. School officials have noted that all students infected in the outbreak had received the recommended two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine prior to infection. In a message from the university’s Student Health Center, students are being urged to receive a third MMR booster shot to prevent infection.

BIGGEST OUTBREAK IN NEW YORK STATE SINCE 2010

Officials at the State University of New York’s (SUNY) New Paltz campus have reported 63 cases of the mumps since early October. In a recent press release, the university announced that it is working with New York State Department of Health and the Ulster County Department of Health to offer a free mumps vaccination clinic. Students who have received the recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine are being urged to receive a third dose to prevent further spread of the virus on campus.

OUTBREAK GROWING IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST

In Washington’s King County, four more cases of the mumps recently brought that outbreak up to 58 cases. The number of cases has continued to rise since local health officials confirmed the first cases in late November. The Washington State Department of Health is now reporting that the mumps outbreak has spread to neighboring Pierce County, where four probable cases are currently under investigation.

Oregon has seen 12 confirmed cases of the mumps so far this year, the highest number of cases there since the state reported 22 cases in 2006. In children between 24 and 35 months living in Oregon, the MMR vaccination rate is 94%, higher than the US average of 91%.

ARKANSAS OUTBREAK

The state of Arkansas has been hardest hit by this year’s mumps outbreak. Officials with the Arkansas Department of Health have more than 2,000 suspected cases of the mumps under investigation, and note that 90% to 95% of school-age children affected in the outbreak have received the full course of the MMR vaccine. The health department is also studying whether the MMR vaccine effectively protects against the strain of the virus currently plaguing the state and other parts of the country.

LONE STAR MUMPS

Health officials in Texas are reporting a growing outbreak of mumps in the state. In the Dallas-area’s Johnson County, 28 cases of the mumps have affected mostly school-age children at area schools. Students in the Texas town of Keene, who visited an area of Arkansas affected by a mumps outbreak, are believed to have brought the virus back with them. At least one confirmed case in a Houston area high school student has district officials on alert and taking measures to prevent a larger outbreak.

MMR VACCINE

According to the CDC, two doses of the MMR vaccine effectively prevent about 88% of mumps infections, while one dose is about 78% effective. Since the mumps vaccine program began in 1967, the US has seen over a 99% drop is mumps cases, though outbreaks can still occur even among those vaccinated. The CDC recommends that unvaccinated children and certain healthy adults receive the MMR vaccine.