Mumps Makes a Comeback to the U.S.

Author:  Yangguang Ou

Institution:  Florida State University
Date:  April 2008

Mumps, a viral disease, made an alarming reappearance in the U.S. in 2006, and experts agree that it will take some time before the disease can be completely eradicated.

Mumps is marked by swelling of the salivary glands, which can lead in turn to fever, or even deafness, depending on the severity of the viral infection.

Despite sincere efforts to eliminate the disease, the cases of mumps reached approximately 6,600 in the U.S. alone in 2006, with reasons still unknown. Great Britain too reported about 70,000 cases between the years 2004 and 2006. The latter, as reports, is due to the lack of the second dose of vaccination.

The cases reported in the U.S have been mainly concentrated in the eight midwestern states as well as on college campuses.

"Although there was no single explanation for the outbreak," said Gustavo Dayan and colleagues of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "multiple factors may have contributed, including waning immunity, high population density and contact rates in colleges, and incomplete vaccine-induced immunity to wild virus." Dayan also advocated for a more effective mumps vaccine or changes in vaccine policy to avert future outbreaks.

The U.S. has set a goal to eliminate the disease by 2010, which is considered to be achieved when there are no new "home-grown" cases within a 12-month period. However, in present scenario, almost half of the nations across the globe do not vaccinate against the virus. Jane Seward, Deputy Director of the CDC's viral diseases division, for one, is not convinced, "Until the globe gets rid of their disease, we're at risk for importation and will continue to have outbreaks."

Written by Yangguang Ou

Reviewed by Suvash Shrestha

Published by Pooja Ghatalia