Most Mumps Cases Occurred in Immunized Young Adults

April 9, 2008

Despite high national coverage rates with two doses of mumps vaccine, the largest outbreak of mumps in two decades occurred in 2006, suggesting that changes to the mumps vaccine or vaccine policy may be needed to avert future outbreaks, researchers report in the April 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Despite high national coverage rates with two doses of mumps vaccine, the largest outbreak of mumps in two decades occurred in 2006, suggesting that changes to the mumps vaccine or vaccine policy may be needed to avert future outbreaks, researchers report in the April 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Gustavo H. Dayan, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues reviewed national data from the mumps outbreak during 2006, detailing data from the eight states most affected and vaccination rates from three nationwide surveys.

During 2006, a total of 6,584 cases of mumps were reported, 76 percent of which occurred between March and May, the researchers report. Eighty-five percent of cases occurred in eight contiguous midwestern states. The highest incidence was observed in persons aged 18 to 24 years, of whom 83 percent reported being current college students. An analysis of cases in the eight most heavily affected states revealed that of patients with known vaccination status, 63 percent overall and 84 percent of those aged 18 to 24 years had received two vaccine doses.

"Although there was no single explanation for the outbreak, multiple factors may have contributed, including waning immunity, high population density and contact rates in colleges, and incomplete vaccine-induced immunity to wild virus."

Two study authors disclosed financial ties to Sanofi Pasteur and Abbott Laboratories.

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