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Mumps Outbreak Worsening in Midwest

Inadequate Vaccination May Be a Factor in Outbreak
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 20, 2006 -- The mumpsmumps outbreak in the U.S. presses on.

The numbers keep growing in the midst of the country's largest outbreak of mumps in more than 20 years, More than 1,000 cases have already been reported in eight states.

Mumps has mainly been seen in the Midwest, especially in Iowa, CDC director Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, told reporters in a teleconference on April 19.

"We're not going to be surprised if there are more cases in more states, just given the nature of mumps and the way this outbreak is progressing," Gerberding said.

None of the cases has been fatal, though up to 20 people have been hospitalized. "Fortunately, it's usually not a serious disease," Gerberding said.

The CDC has committed to make 25,000 doses of the measlesmeasles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine from its stockpile available to help Iowa's vaccination efforts. In addition, drug company Merck has donated to the CDC 25,000 doses of its MMR2 vaccine "that we will use as we see fit to help support the effort to immunize people in the affected areas," Gerberding said.

Latest Numbers on Mumps Outbreak

The web site of Iowa's public health department shows 975 reports of confirmed, probable, or suspected mumps cases in that state alone, through April 19.

In addition, "there are 350 cases reported from seven other states, which include Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, [and] Oklahoma," Gerberding said, adding that "a handful of other states" may have cases that haven't been confirmed as probable or definite cases.

The mumps outbreak has mainly been seen in college-aged students, but mumps may spread as youths spend time with their families or in their communities, Gerberding said. "We will continue to see some extension of this outbreak into the community level and we need to be prepared for that," she said.

"This is an unstable situation right now. We're not able to reliably predict where this will go," Gerberding said. "We do know what's important about containment, and we are doing everything we can to support the state health officials who are responsible for executing those steps."

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