Mumps Resurgence Linked To Lack Of Vaccinations

A new study suggests the recent resurgence of mumps is linked to a lack of vaccinations... but not among children.

According to CNN, in the past couple of years outbreaks of mumps have been occurring in both the United States and Europe. The MMR vaccine, given in two doses to children, protects against the measles, mumps, and rubella. However, even though the vaccine is generally done in two doses, it might not be enough.

The new study shows while the vaccine is protective against different strains of the mumps virus, it clearly does not last forever. Therefore, the new outbreaks could be because adults need to be getting the vaccine as well.

“We estimated that protection lasts on average 27 years. We estimate that about 25% of people will lose protection and be at risk for mumps in about eight years and that 50% will be at risk in about 19 years, and 75% of people will be at risk within 38 years. So the timing at which people lose protection can definitely vary individually," shared Joseph A. Lewnard, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard's TH Chan School of Public Health.

Even though people are getting the required two vaccines of MMR, it may not be enough. So based on the results of the study, what is the suggestion to try and prevent these outbreaks? Well, Lewnard says an additional booster of the vaccine at around age 18 should help prevent future mumps outbreaks. However, at this time the study has not shown how long an additional booster would last.

“That's a large unknown, and that's why, at the moment, the immunization committee has not recommended a third dose for everybody in adolescence," revealed Lewnard.

What does all of the information from the new study mean for everyday people? Well, as with any study the best course of action is to contact your doctor. If you have questions or concerns, a physician is the best person to answer them. While the study shows the MMR vaccine does not necessarily last a lifetime, not all physicians are convinced a third dose in adolescence is the best course of action to prevent outbreaks.

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