Ohio State Mumps Outbreak

Mumps Outbreak At Ohio State – Almost All Were Vaccinated

There are now 28 confirmed cases in the mumps outbreak at Ohio State University as of March 18, 2014. All but one of those infected were vaccinated, according to Jose Rodriguez, spokesman for Columbus Public Health. This outbreak could still potentially grow, as students are returning from spring break and could have infected others during the relatively long (15-to 25-day) incubation period for mumps.

The CDC’s recommendation is for two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. Those affected by the mumps outbreak thus far are considered to be “highly vaccinated.” However, Rodriguez says, “even within folks that are vaccinated, they are still at risk of illness,” and there still remains a 10 to 20% chance of those people who have had the two MMR shots to come down with the mumps.

The Columbus Public Health Department and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) are recommending booster vaccines for those students who have only had one shot against mumps, and commencement of the series of vaccines for the unvaccinated, in hopes of containing the mumps outbreak.

Yet some are questioning the long-held concept of “herd immunity,” citing the prevalence of several mumps outbreaks occurring within largely vaccinated populations. Tetyana Obukhanych, Ph.D., immunologist, is one of a growing number of experts who challenges the mainstream concept of herd immunity, calling it “a flawed concept.” She writes:

“If double vaccination is not enough to patch those alleged vaccine failures and ensure the elusive herd immunity, should we then look forward to triple (or, might as well, quadruple) MMR vaccination strategy to see how that might work out with respect to herd immunity? Or, should we instead re-examine the herd immunity concept itself?

“The herd-immunity concept is based on a faulty assumption that vaccination elicits in an individual a state equivalent to bona fide immunity (life-long resistance to viral infection),… the expectations of the herd-immunity theory are bound to fail in the real world.”

There is also increasing concern about the safety of the MMR vaccine itself. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are two of the more well-known in the anti-vax camp, but they are joined by lots of other parents. The product insert for the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine from Merck acknowledges serious side effects such as encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, arthritis, and more. Others have linked the vaccine to Crohn’s disease.

Mumps Outbreak Among Vaccinated Students