Mumps Outbreak Hits More than 70 in New York, New Jersey

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Oct 23 2009 - 10:58am

Remember mumps? Baby boomers may remember getting the childhood disease or getting the vaccine as a young child. Now the New York Department of Health has confirmed an outbreak of about 57 confirmed or probable cases of mumps, which have been reported since August 21 in Brooklyn. Across the border, residents in the New Jersey township of Lakewood are reporting about 15 to 30 cases of their own.

New York officials report that the outbreak originated in a child who traveled to Britain and then attended summer camp in upper New York State, transmitting the disease to other campers. The children then brought the mumps virus back with them to Brooklyn. So far, most of the victims have been between the ages of 10 and 15, although a one-year-old child and a 42-year-old have been infected as well.

At least 75 percent of the Brooklyn victims were fully immunized, although the vaccine is known to have a 90 percent effective rate. The recommended schedule for the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is administration of the first shot at age 12 to 15 months and the second before entering kindergarten.

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Both the Ocean County Health Department and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services are investigating a mumps outbreak in Lakewood Township. The cases have occurred within the last two weeks. Most of the victims, who range in age from 1 to 40, had been fully immunized. Thus far the infection has been confined to one part of the township.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the last mumps resurgence in the United States was in 2006. At that time, Iowa experienced a large outbreak of the disease beginning in December 2005. By April 2006, a total of 605 confirmed and probably cases were reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Most of the mumps cases occurred in people ages 18 to 25, many of whom had been vaccinated. Additional cases of mumps reached eight neighboring states as well.

Symptoms of mumps include painful swelling of the salivary glands, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Complications are rare and include deafness. There is no treatment for the disease, which usually runs its course in about 10 days. The CDC has a website that offers information about the course of the disease and recommendations for isolation of people who have mumps.

SOURCES:
All Headline News Oct. 23, 2009
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jackson NJ Online, October 23, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 23, 2009

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