For the second week in a row, the latest figures on Iowa’s outbreak of mumps have some speculating that the worst is over. That’s not the way State Epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk sees it.
In a couple of areas where there was a lot of transmission of the disease the numbers are going down, but Doctor Quinlisk says they’re probably gone down there “because there’s nobody else to give mumps to — everybody that’s going to get it, got it.”
Quinlisk says mumps cases are still increasing in new areas, and she doesn’t think mumps overall is going down or the epidemic is leveling off. Quinlisk admits there were few takers when several thousand doses of mumps vaccine were offered free to young adults. There’s lots of vaccine left, according to Quinlisk, and they still hope to get more 18-to-25-year-olds to come in and get the vaccine. She says while it’s too bad that few took advantage of the offer, they’re looking at some other strategies.
Quinlisk says it has to help that among college kids, where the outbreak appeared first and spread the most, school’s getting out and they’ll disperse for summer, hopefully with less chance of infecting classmates. She says when there isn’t so much close, intimate contact among the people living in dormitories and sitting in classes, the transmission does go down for diseases like mumps.
According to the Iowa Department of Public health, this week’s tally of mumps cases in Iowa is one-thousand- six-hundred-nine.