Friday, March 28, 2014
With now more than 80 cases of mumps reported in the Columbus area, the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging physicians and parents to be vigilant in keeping their children’s vaccines up-to-date.
Mumps is a systemic viral illness characterized by swelling of the salivary glands. In males, the virus also can cause orchitis and possibly sterility, although the latter is unusual.
There are reports that many of the cases of the current outbreak, which began on a university campus, are in those who were vaccinated. Outbreaks of mumps are typically found to be associated with the initial case occurring in a person who is unimmunized or under-immunized. The more people who are not fully immunized, the more risk of a large outbreak.
Children should receive an initial dose of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine at 12-15 months of age and a second dose at 4-6 years of age.
“The second dose is important to boost immunity as well as provide immunity to people who did not respond to the first dose of the vaccine — about 5% of people. A single dose of MMR is not sufficient to provide lasting immunity and is why the second dose is recommended,” said Robert W. Frenck, Jr., MD, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
To best prevent outbreaks, it is important to check the immunization status of people before they enter school and also before entering college. Those who are not fully immunized should receive the required number of vaccinations to bring the person up to date.