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Lessons Learned: More Boosters May Be Needed After College Mumps Outbreak 2006

By KJ Mullins     Apr 9, 2008 in Health
In 1990 health officials started giving children a second booster of the vaccine to prevent mumps. There's concern now that another booster is actually needed after the outbreak at college in the U.S. in 2006.
Almost 6,600 people, mostly college students came down with the mumps during an outbreak in eight Midwest states in 2006. Of those who were infected with the illness 84 percent had both sets of the mumps shot that the CDC and state health departments recommended.
Public health experts didn't think that the vaccine would have such a short life in immunity. The mumps strain that was involved in the breakout was new and not targeted by the vaccine. There is evidence though that in other outbreaks that the shot has stood up to the new strain.
It's thought that the outbreak stemmed from students or travellers from the UK where the second vaccine is not voluntary. The United Kingdom was had large breakouts of the mumps of the same strain. Future cases are expected as much of the rest of the world doesn't vaccinate against mumps.
"If there's another outbreak, we would evaluate the potential benefit of a third dose to control the outbreak," said researcher Dr. Jane Seward, deputy director of the CDC's viral diseases division.[/quote
The disease is spread by respiratory secretions and saliva. College students living in close quarters such as dorms are especially vulnerable.
Mumps itself cause fever and swollen salivary glands in the cheeks. The disease has complications in some individuals that cause deafness, viral meningitis and testicle inflammation. The latter can cause sterility.
The only United States mumps vaccine was created in 1967. It has remained unchanged since Merck & Co. that time.
Over 500 million doses have been sold since the 1970s when it became put of the measles-mumps-rubella shot. The current schedule for the vaccine is one at 12 to 15 months and the other at age 4 to 6.
A third booster is being considered for college students. 85 percent of those exposed to the outbreak were protected. That percentage though wasn't high enough to prevent the spread of the disease.
More about Mumps, Outbreak, College students