Maine CDC Press Release

November 19, 2007

Maine CDC: New Vaccination Recommendations for Mumps

Seven Confirmed Cases in Southern and Central Maine

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH 207-287-3270
Or John Martins, Director
Employee and Public Communications (207) 287-5012

AUGUSTA – With four people being identified with a mumps infection over the past month and results of tests on between one and two dozen additional patients with the suspected illness pending, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Dora Ann Mills said that vaccination recommendations for mumps are being updated.

Maine now has seven people who have been diagnosed with the illness, ranging in age from the late teens to the late 50s. They reside in various towns in Southern and Central Maine.

"Because this outbreak has spread, we are updating vaccination recommendations, especially among children, college and university students and hospital workers," Mills said. "These are indicated priority populations for vaccine from experiences in other outbreaks."

Mumps is an acute viral infection of the salivary glands. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache and swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands at the angle of the jaw (parotid glands). Infection occurs through direct contact with respiratory droplets from the nose or throat, through saliva, coughing, sneezing, sharing drinks, kissing or from contact with any surface that has been contaminated with the mumps virus.

Rarely, mumps infection can lead to meningitis, inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas and transient or permanent hearing loss. Because mumps is a viral infection, it does not respond to antibiotic treatment.

The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is the most common given to protect against mumps.

For kindergarten through 12th grade schools, the Maine CDC is recommending:

  • All vaccine records need to be reviewed and updated.
  • For those children who are not updated with their MMR vaccine, a letter should be given to the parents notifying them that Maine is currently experiencing an outbreak of mumps, and that if the infection is detected in their school their child will needed to be excluded for at least 18 days.

For colleges and universities, the Maine CDC is recommending:

  • All vaccine records need to be reviewed and updated.
  • All college and university students should have documentation of two doses of MMR, rather than the previously required one dose. Most students would have had two doses as part of their routine childhood vaccinations.

For hospital health care workers with direct patient care, the Maine CDC is recommending:

  • All hospital health care workers in hospitals who have direct patient contact should have their vaccine records reviewed and updated.
  • Adequate mumps vaccination for those born during or after 1957 now consists of two doses of MMR, rather than the previously required one dose.
  • Adequate mumps vaccination for those born before 1957 now consists of one dose of MMR, rather than no doses as previously required.

"We expect these institutions will need a few weeks to comply with these recommendations. We are offering assistance to comply with them, such 24-hour consultations, Public Health Nurses to help with vaccine clinics and possible access to the federal contract price for the MMR vaccine," Mills said..

Currently, Canada is experiencing an outbreak of mumps, with more than 900 people reported with the infection since last winter/spring. This outbreak is centered in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia among young adults, especially college and university students.

The United States last experienced a major outbreak of mumps in the spring of 2006 when more than 2,500 people were reported infected in the Midwest, primarily college and university students.

"While there is no apparent direct connection between people in Maine with confirmed infection and the current outbreak in Canada, it is not surprising that a border state like Maine would see an outbreak,” Mills said. “Although mumps is a virus and is not treatable with antibiotics, the good news is that mumps can be prevented or its impact reduced with vaccine."

Before the MMR vaccine was approved in 1967, more than 200,000 Americans became ill with mumps every year and 20-30 died. In recent years, there has been a 99 percent decline in mumps compared with pre-vaccine years. Outbreaks have been much less severe, Mills said.

Outbreaks of mumps will still occur occasionally, especially since mumps is highly contagious. Like most vaccines, MMR is not 100 percent effective. About 10 percent of people who are vaccinated will not have full immunity to the infection. Tose who are vaccinated are much less likely to become infected and if they do, they are less likely to become severely ill.

Besides additional vaccinations, the Maine CDC will also be recommending those who are infected to be isolated for nine days after the onset of illness and those who are non-immune and who are exposed to be isolated for about 18 days after the last exposure.

For More Information

Maine Mumps Page (clinical info, Q&A, lab testing, patient info, vaccine info, etc.) or