Wednesday April 9, 2008
A study to be published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine takes a look at whether two doses of the mumps vaccine are enough in the case of an outbreak.
Since the mid-'80s, the number of cases of mumps in the U.S. has sharply declined to the point where the virus is a rarity; fewer than 1,000 cases are reported each year nationwide.
But in 2006 there was a big outbreak, especially on college campuses.
In the Thomas Jefferson Health District there were 64 suspected cases, 55 of which were tied to UVa.
Local health officials are reacting to the CDC study, telling CBS19 News a third vaccination wouldn't do much good.
"In the outbreak we had here, all of the people had actually either had two doses of vaccine or had had the mumps disease when they were younger," said TJHD Health Director Dr. Lilian Peake.
"I think if you get 97, 98 percent of your population vaccinated with the two shots, you can minimize the effect of the outbreak," said Dr. James C. Turner, Executive Director of UVa's Student Health Department.
Dr. Turner adds if you've had the two shot vaccine and you get mumps, you won't be nearly as sick for nearly as long as someone who hasn't been vaccinated.
He adds that while grade schoolers need the vaccine to be allowed in class, Virginia state law lets college students go a full semester without having to be vaccinated. That's a loophole some health experts say would be better off closed.
For more information on mumps, visit the following Web sites: