Iowa’s top doctor says adults need to check their immunization records to ensure they’ve been inoculated with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the state epidemiologist, says with 60 cases of mumps confirmed now in Iowa, there’s no better time for the reminder.
Children who are entering school right now are required to get two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. “Those of us who are older, for example, people who are less than 45 but older than about 20 probably went through school when one dose was required,” Quinlisk says. “Really, right now the recommendation is people should have two for full immunity.”
Quinlisk says people who are older than 45 may have never been vaccinated and were never exposed to mumps. Many of Iowa’s health care workers are in the over-45 crowd, and Quinlisk is urging them to get vaccinated. “People usually don’t think too much about the measles and mumps and rubella, thinking (those are) children’s diseases,” Quinlisk says. “The reality is that the children are the ones who are fully vaccinated and the best protected and it’s those of us who are older, who didn’t get vaccinated, but are not so old that we had the disease when we were children.”
The older you are when you get mumps, the sicker you will be according to Quinlisk. She says mumps can cause spontaneous abortions in women and make men sterile. “Unfortunately, mumps can sometimes be pretty serious,” Quinlisk says.