Mumps (cont.)

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Can mumps be prevented? Is there a vaccine for mumps?

Prior the introduction of the mumps vaccine in 1948, epidemics during the winter/spring would commonly affect young schoolchildren with secondary spread to other family members not yet immune. Until an effective vaccine program was introduced, isolation of the infected individual was the only public-health control option. The current MMR strain used in the United States and other developed countries was licensed in 1967. Another strain is more commonly used in developing countries. Both strains provide approximately 80% immunity following the two-vaccination schedule detailed below.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a combination vaccine (MMR) to children at 12 to 15 months of age with a booster dose at 4 to 6 years of age. During periods of possible epidemics, the booster dose may be administered after a minimum of 28 days following the initial vaccination. The MMR vaccination is designed to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). Adults born after 1956 should receive at least one MMR vaccination. Those born prior to 1956 are generally found to have acquired natural immunity and no vaccination is necessary.

More common side effects of the MMR vaccine include stinging/burning at the injection site, mild fever, and mild skin rash. The fever and skin rash most commonly develop five to 12 days postvaccination and occur more commonly after the first vaccination. Some recipients of the vaccine will note mild enlargement and tenderness of local (for example, neck) lymph nodes. It should be noted that these relatively common side effects are considerably less severe than acquiring any of the three illnesses the MMR vaccine is designed to prevent. In extremely rare situations, more severe reactions affecting the nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and digestive organs, the skin, and others may occur.

A very small population should not receive the MMR vaccine. These include those with a compromised immune system (HIV/AIDS, cancer, those receiving more than two continuous weeks of steroids) or who are allergic to any component of the vaccine, including gelatin or neomycin. MMR vaccines are very unlikely to produce a severe reaction to those who are egg white allergic. Daily use of inhaled steroids (such as those used to control certain pulmonary diseases such as asthma, COPD, etc.) is not a contraindication to the MMR vaccine. Patients with a mild illness (for example, the common cold) may safely receive the MMR vaccine. Conception should be avoided until at least 28 days following vaccination.

Multiple international studies have not demonstrated any causative relationship between administration of the MMR vaccine and the development of autism, disproving previous erroneous theories.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/11/2014

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