After outbreak, DHSS no longer recommends additional mumps vaccine
After a months-long mumps outbreak in Alaska, the Department of Health and Social Services is no longer recommending people get additional doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).
An overview released by the department Thursday states that no one died from the illness and four people were hospitalized in the nearly year-and-a-half long outbreak.
The recommendation for additional doses was initially made in Nov. 2017, with a focus on those who were most at risk for acquiring the infection, like the young, elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The outbreak continued, so DHSS expanded its recommendation the next month to include everyone in Anchorage. In Feb. 2018, all Alaska residents who wanted added protection during the outbreak were advised to get another MMR.
DHSS reports that between May 2017 and Sept. 2018, there were 391 confirmed and probable mumps cases, making it the largest documented mumps outbreak in Alaska since the 1970s, when case reporting records started.
Most people who got sick had been vaccinated prior to the onset of symptoms. Of the 229 patients whose vaccination status was known, 93 percent had gotten at least one MMR. The department says that's not surprising because immunity to the vaccine wanes over time.
DHSS says the outbreak ended on Sep. 30, 2018, two incubation periods after the onset of the last reported case had passed.
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