Since almost a decade ago, mumps cases started to rise at alarming rates. Because of this surge, federal health officials are now weighing the option of administering a third dose of the MMR vaccine. Last year, as many as 5,000 people contracted the virus, a record for the last decade, said health experts.
Last year, 19 cases of mumps were recorded in college campuses. Furthermore, Arkansas has been battling an outbreak that started in the summer of 2016 and has since claimed over 2,800 patients, a record for the state.
Mumps Outbreaks Across the Nation
Health experts say that unlike whooping cough and measles outbreaks, which also took their toll on the country’s population, the mumps outbreaks occurred in areas with high rates of immunization. Furthermore, residents of those regions reported they received a double dose of the vaccine.
On Thursday, February 23rd, federal health officials say they will investigate on whether an individual’s immunization decreases over time and if a third dose of the MMR vaccine is necessary. According to the local and state health authorities, the extra dose of the vaccine is only a precautionary measure.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials recommend parents to vaccinate their toddlers. Hence, the first dose of the MMR vaccine (against mumps, measles, and rubella) should be administered between the first 12 and 15 months of the child’s life. For stronger immunization, the children will need a second dose of the vaccine at ages four and six, respectively.
According to health experts, the MMR vaccine is highly effective if a patient gets injected with two doses. Hence, patients vaccinated twice have an 88 percent stronger immune response to the virus, while those who get only one dose are 78 percent safe against mumps.
When compared to the other two diseases it keeps at bay, a single dose of the MMR vaccine is 97 percent effective against rubella and two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective at preventing measles. The nation’s vaccination program began in 1967. During that time, almost 200,000 cases of children infected with mumps were reported annually. Fortunately, by 2016, the prevalence of the disease dropped by 99 percent thanks to the positive effects of the MMR vaccine.
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