The director of the Centers for Disease Control expects even more mumps cases to be diagnosed in Iowa and other states in the coming weeks as a “cascade of transmission” occurs.
Doctor Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, says her agency has acquired another 25-thousand doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and will distribute it in Iowa and the other Midwestern states where mumps has been reported. “This is an unstable situation right now and we’re not able to reliably predict where this will go,” Gerberding says.
The doctor says she’ll not “second guess” the steps taken in Iowa and the eight other states where more than one-thousand cases of the mumps have been confirmed.
“We hope that the steps taken to isolate infected people as well as vaccinate to raise the general level of protection will definitely help slow this down,” Gerberding says. “We have seen that work successfully in the past and we hope that it would be successful this time.”
The C-D-C director says the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella is most effective when you have a booster. A single dose is less effective, so Gerberding is joining the chorus of public health officials urging Iowans to check their immunization records. “We really can’t predict at this point in time where the virus will go next and what other populations of people we need to be concerned about,” Gerberding says. “Let me emphasize again, however, that health care workers are always going to be a special risk population.”
About 20 people have been hospitalized during this mumps outbreak. “One advantage that we’re seeing at least so far in this outbreak is that most of the people are young and relatively healthy,” Gerberding says. “We haven’t had any deaths so far related to this outbreak so that’s good news.”
Gerberding expects the current, renewed “cycle” of mumps to end, but cautions that mumps cases are reported every year.”I really want to emphasize that while we are, of course, investigating the outbreak and we will learn more about the efficacy of the vaccine in this particular setting, we have absolutely no information to suggest that there’s any problem with the vaccine,” Gerberding says.
Public health officials in seven other states are investigating possible cases of the mumps. Mumps is a viral disease that can cause inflammation in the saliva glands, giving people that swollen look. The main symptoms are fever, headache and tiredness. In some more serious cases it can cause encephalitis, sterility in men and spontaneous abortions in women. It can cause deafness in rare cases.