Because of effective vaccines and high vaccination rates in the United States, mumps has been almost non-existent since 1990. In fact, a goal was established to completely eradicate the disease by 2010 in this country. However, a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that there was a widespread outbreak in the midwest in 2006.
This outbreak apparently occurred despite good vaccine coverage. Most of those who got the disease had been immunized. Over 6000 cases of the mumps were reported in 2006 and most of those occurred in 8 midwestern states. It also appears most were among 18-24 year olds that were attending college. In the 12 years prior to the outbreak, less than 1000 cases per year were reported.
This outbreak does not mean that the goal of eradicating mumps by 2010 is impossible, but it brings up important questions about the efficacy of the vaccine and the possible need for a change in the vaccine schedule.
Photo courtesy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention