Health officials say 439 people have been diagnosed with mumps in Ohio, more than in the entire United States last year. Last year 438 people in the entire United States caught mumps, one of the infections prevented by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. This year, more than 800 cases have been reported from 25 states.
The problem is a less-than-perfect vaccine and continual imports from other countries, health officials say. “Mumps is a problem because the mumps vaccine that we have is a good one, but it is not a perfect vaccine,” says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University. “Even after two doses of mumps vaccine, if you wait 10 or 15 years and you’re exposed to mumps there is only about 85 percent protection.”
The Ohio mumps outbreak is separate from a measles outbreak linked to Amish volunteers who have brought the virus back from the Philippines, where they have been doing relief work.
- Judy Silverman