The New York Times ran an article stating that Mumps is making a comeback despite most people being vaccinated against it. The childhood MMR vaccine, which includes Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, is apparently failing to work correctly by offering the “lifetime immunity” to Mumps. Pediatricians are claiming that recent Mumps outbreaks have nothing to with parents choosing to avoid the vaccine, rather, with the Mumps vaccine being less effective than we’ve always assumed.
The New York Times ran a complete story over the vaccine’s failures, and oddly, never attempted to blame herd immunity (because most likely, they couldn’t justify such an angle).
“Mumps outbreaks are on the rise,” said Dr. Janell Routh, a pediatrician who is a medical officer on the mumps team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 6,000 cases of mumps were reported in the United States last year, the highest number in 10 years. Around 2010, total annual cases were down in the hundreds.
Most of the recent cases occurred in outbreaks, including a large one in Arkansas, rather than as a sporadic here-a-case, there-a-case disease. And most of the outbreaks were among people 18 to 22 years old, most of whom had had the requisite two doses of mumps vaccine in childhood. “We are seeing it in a young and highly vaccinated population,” Dr. Routh said.
One important note is that the ages we are seeing are only 18 to 22, not 70. Meaning, a vaccine once pitched to serve up a lifetime’s worth of immunity isn’t even making it a quarter of a lifespan.
Mumps is spread by saliva, making college dorm rooms perfect incubators.
So what’s the big solution? More vaccines, of course.
“Should this situation occur again, we would give a third dose,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director and state epidemiologist for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said. “In our outbreak it did substantially decrease the risk of other students getting mumps, and was instrumental in stopping the outbreak.”
And there is more:
“A good number of patients who come to the E.R. and are subsequently diagnosed with mumps are vaccinated and come in thinking it was just a lymph node swelling,” Dr. Lucerna said. Adults who develop swelling at the angle of the jaw together with flulike symptoms should think about mumps, he said. “We probably underdiagnose it.”
The question is, how many more Mumps vaccinations would be needed according to this logic? Four over a lifetime? And why isn’t anyone taking responsibility for original misinformation over the matter? This wasn’t supposed to end this way according to the original pitch in the pediatrician’s office. It would seem we are owed at least a little more of an explanation in this matter.