Mumps cases rising, decrease in vaccinations to blame

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – More than one hundred mumps cases have been reported in the state this year.

Twenty one counties have been fighting this outbreak, and the interesting thing about it? A majority of the patients have already had the mumps vaccine.

“We’re starting to see more and more cases, but there’s not an overall trend,” explained Dr. Thomas Moore, Chief of Infection Prevention at Wesley.

It starts with a fever, headache and swollen salivary glands.

“You get the outbreaks in situations where there are college campuses, typically,” said Dr. Moore.

The first reported cases involved college students from Kansas State and Kansas University, who were diagnosed with mumps. Dr. Moore says mumps tends to spread in big groups of people.

“When there’s a mumps outbreak currently, the vast majority of people who get it will be vaccinated, that’s not expected,” Moore stated.

Which explains how 120 people were reported to have mumps, 86 percent of them were vaccinated.

“The vaccine is very effective, but it doesn’t protect everyone who gets it. it protects 80 percent who get it, so the other 20 percent who get the vaccine are not protected, and there’s really no when you get it whether you’re going to be one of those people who are not protected,” said Dr. Moore.

The vaccine contains a killed virus, and, though it’s not 100 percent effective, Moore says, cases have been reduced by 99 percent because of it.

By the time every child enters school, health professional recommend they be vaccinated. But, some families choose otherwise and, Dr. Moore says that’s a big problem.

“It’s your role as a citizen, a responsible citizen to vaccinate your kids against disease which could kill them and others,” explained Dr. Moore.

There’s no treatment for mumps, the incubation period is about 17 days and they symptoms tend to wear off in a week.


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