“Beginning in 1991, the military services implemented universal recruit immunization with a single dose of MMR vaccine, regardless of prior vaccination history. Shortly thereafter, and informed by the results of population serosurveys, the Air Force transitioned to a policy of targeted MMR vaccination, limiting the administration of MMR vaccine to recruits lacking serologic evidence of immunity to measles or rubella. With recent outbreaks of mumps, concerns have arisen that the practice of not specifically screening for mumps immunity in determining the need for MMR vaccine could lead to a relative increase in mumps risk among military recruits subject to screening. “Eick et al on Incidence of mumps and immunity to measles, mumps and rubella among US military recruits, 2000–2004
Unlike measles, the MMR vaccine provides good, but not great protection against mumps.
And although military recruits are screened to see if they have low titers for measles and rubella, they still aren’t screened for mumps. The theory is that if their measles and rubella titers are low, then their mumps titer will be low too and they will get an MMR vaccine. Of course, this misses some who just have a low mumps titer, possibly an effect of waning immunity.
Mumps on the USS Fort McHenry
And that’s why we have been seeing mumps outbreaks on college campuses and most recently, on a Navy ship, although that isn’t a reason for everyone to go out and check their titers.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr has a lot to say about mumps…
He says that mumps outbreaks have devastated fully vaccinated populations at Harvard, Temple, Syracuse, Louisiana State, IU, and the U of Missouri…
And that mumps “epidemics” haven’t been covered by the media, because they don’t want to embarrass Merck…
He also seems to think that these mumps cases have caused a national security threat…
Is any of this true?
The simple fact that you can find a ton of stories in the media about the mumps outbreaks (they are not epidemics) gives you a good clue that they aren’t.
What about the quarantined sailors on the USS Fort McHenry?
That is true, but consider that only 27 of 700 of them have gotten parotitis, presumed to have been caused by mumps.
While you would expect that no one would get mumps or any other vaccine-preventable disease these days, that is just under 4% of those on board the ship.
What would have happened in the pre-vaccine era?
A whole lot more people would have gotten sick!
In the pre-vaccine era, although mumps was supposed to be a common childhood illness, about 1/3 to 1/2 of military recruits had never had mumps.
That meant big outbreaks of mumps that were hard to control, unlike what we see today.
“This article reports a recent public health response to 3 imported mumps cases occurring at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, that resulted in a contact investigation for 109 close contacts across varied settings. No secondary mumps cases were identified.”Public Health Response to Imported Mumps Cases – Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 2018
Instead, not only do fewer people get sick during mumps outbreaks these days, but fortunately, they have fewer complications.
What kind of complications?
In addition to a swollen jaw, mumps is known to cause orchitis, aseptic meningitis, oophoritis, pancreatitis, and encephalitis.
“Risk was reduced for hospitalization, mumps orchitis and mumps meningitis when patient had received 1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. The protective effect of vaccination on disease severity is critical in assessing the total effects of current and future mumps control strategies.”Young et al on Mumps Complications and Effects of Mumps Vaccination, England and Wales, 2002–2006
Fortunately, those complications are reduced when you get vaccinated. And so are your risks of actually getting mumps in the first place!
“This study demonstrates a significant preventive effect of two-dose vaccination against mumps complications (orchitis, meningitis, or encephalitis) and hospitalization for mumps.”Orlíkováet al on Protective effect of vaccination against mumps complications, Czech Republic, 2007-2012.
Kennedy doesn’t mention a protective effect of the MMR vaccine, does he?
Remember, vaccines aren’t perfect, but even those that don’t work as well as the others still protect you from many of the worst complications and are much better than getting the disease naturally.
More on Mumps on the USS Fort McHenry
- VAXOPEDIA – Do Your Kids Need a Mumps Booster Shot?
- VAXOPEDIA – What to Do If Your Child Is Exposed to Mumps
- VAXOPEDIA – Mumps Outbreaks
- VAXOPEDIA – Waning Immunity
- VAXOPEDIA – Military Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Does Your Child with Parotitis Have Mumps?
- VAXOPEDIA – Is Mutating Mumps More Than the MMR Can Manage?
- VAXOPEDIA – Do Your Kids Need a Mumps Booster Shot?
- VAXOPEDIA – Anti-Vaxxers Should Be Able to Answer These Questions Correctly
- VAXOPEDIA – Ask 8 Questions Before You Skip a Vaccine
- VAXOPEDIA – Why Is RFK, Jr Pimping out the Kennedy Compound to Anti-Vaxxers?
- VAXOPEDIA – What Happened to Kennedy’s Vaccination Safety Committee
- VAXOPEDIA – Doing the Math on Kennedy, Vaccines and Mercury
- VAXOPEDIA – Does the CDC Own Any Patents on Vaccines?
- VAXOPEDIA – Did the FDA Admit That the Government Is Recommending Untested, Unlicensed Vaccines for Pregnant Women?
- VAXOPEDIA – Did the US Government Lose a Landmark Vaccine Lawsuit?
- VAXOPEDIA – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – This Is the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement
- VAXOPEDIA – Grave Reminders of Life Before Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Why Didn’t Everyone Die with Our 1980s Level of Vaccination Rates?
- VAXOPEDIA – 100 Myths About Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Personal Stories About Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- VAXOPEDIA – The Myth That Measles Isn’t Deadly
- VAXOPEDIA – Answers to Anti-Vaccine Talking Points
- VAXOPEDIA – 50 Ways to Get Educated About Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Anti-Vaccine Points Refuted A Thousand Times
- Accession Screening and Immunization Program
- Study – Mumps outbreak aboard the USS Reuben James.
- Study – Public Health Response to Imported Mumps Cases-Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 2018.
- Study – Mumps orchitis among soldiers: frequency, effect on sperm quality, and sperm antibodies.
- Study – Infection with wild-type mumps virus in army recruits temporally associated with MMR vaccine.
- Study – The risk of measles, mumps, and varicella among young adults: a serosurvey of US Navy and Marine Corps recruits.
- Study – Immunity status of military recruits in 1951 in the United States. II. Results of mumps complement-fixation tests.
- Study – Mumps in the US Army 1980-86: should recruits be immunized?
- Study – The measles outbreak in the French military forces–2010-2011: results of epidemiological surveillance.
- Study – Vaccination policy in Korean armed forces: current status and future challenge.
- Study – Incidence of mumps and immunity to measles, mumps and rubella among US military recruits, 2000–2004
- Study – Mumps outbreak among the military in Luxembourg in 2008: epidemiology and evaluation of control measures.
- Study – Mumps Complications and Effects of Mumps Vaccination, England and Wales, 2002–2006
- Study – Estimating true hospital morbidity of complications associated with mumps outbreak, England, 2004/05.
- Study – Protective effect of vaccination against mumps complications, Czech Republic, 2007-2012.