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Mumps Making a Comeback

Most American children are vaccinated for the mumps when they are little with a two-shot series for measles-mumps-rubella. Unfortunately, that vaccine may not be cutting it, because so far 6,600 people (many of whom did receive the vaccine when they were children) have come down with a case of the mumps. For some reason, it's hitting college students the most, ages 18 to 24. This disease is spread through respiratory secretions and saliva, explaining why it seems to be targeting college students, since they share drinks, utensils, and (sorry Mother, but it is true) are experimenting sexually. Mumps can cause a whole slew of long term health problems like deafness, viral meningitis, and testicle inflammation, which can cause sterility.

This mumps virus is a relatively new strain, and it's believed to be spread by travelers or students from the United Kingdom. The mumps vaccine is voluntary there, and since many countries don't vaccinate against mumps at all, it's likely that an epidemic could arise in the future. Doctors are considering if a third dose of the vaccine may be necessary, but only for college students, since not everyone is at risk.


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