Mumps outbreaks across the U.S. this year have sickened nearly 3,000 people, close to three times as many as last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the University of Missouri, for example, a current outbreak has so far led to 31 confirmed cases of the disease and 27 other suspected cases. Many other colleges and universities have grappled with mumps outbreaks this year, including Harvard, which reported having at least 40 confirmed cases.
This is not surprising to Dr. Steve Lauer, a pediatrician at The University of Kansas Hospital. He says there are many reasons for the outbreak, including some parents who don’t believe in having their children vaccinated. In the video, Dr. Lauer explains exactly what mumps is, what is spreading now and what’s unique about this outbreak. He also talks about whether the current mumps vaccine is effective and whether a booster shot may be needed. He explains what’s meant by “herd immunity,” and why that concept is so important in stopping the spread of diseases. Plus, he describes the reasons parents tell him they don’t want the vaccine, and why a lack of urgency by parents who have never seen the disease may be to blame. And he says many may be surprised to know that only one childhood disease has ever been eradicated…and the others are only a plane ride away from infecting us in The United States. Also included is video of a child receiving vaccinations.