Mumps making a comeback
In the first five months of 2014, more than 460 people in the United States reportedly have contracted the mumps. During all of last year, 438 people from 39 states in the nation were diagnosed with mumps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccinations may not provide 100 percent protection from mumps, warns the CDC, but vaccinations remain the best defense against the disease. Two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine are up to 90 percent effective at protecting against mumps.
“Potential causes of vaccine failure range from improper handling and storage of the vaccine itself to the inability of a person’s body to mount a strong enough immune response to the vaccine,” says Dr. Malli Challapalli, infectious disease specialist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
According to the CDC, individuals can take specific steps to lower their risk for developing mumps. The following are recommended prevention tips:
- Make sure you are up to date on your MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine should be routinely given at age 12 months to 15 months, with a second dose being given at 4 years to 6 years of age. If you are not up to date on your MMR vaccine, you should take that step now to do so. Two doses of MMR vaccine are more effective against mumps than one dose.
- Mumps is spread through cough droplets and direct contact with others who have the infection. The risk of spreading the virus increases the longer and closer the contact is with someone who has the infection.
- Hand washing (with soap and water or alcohol gel) and hand cleanliness are one of the most important ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
- If you do get ill with mumps, avoid close contact with people until at least five days after your glands began to swell. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw out your used tissue.
Some adults need vaccine too
Anyone who was born during or after 1957 and has never had mumps or has never been vaccinated is at risk for mumps. These individuals should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Two doses are recommended for adults at higher risk, such as students in college, trade school and training programs; international travelers; and health care professionals.
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