This multistate problem carries implications for our responses to future epidemics
By Ekemini Hogan, Akpabio Akpabio and Utibe Effiong | 24 June 2020
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN — On June 5, 2020, the U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published the details of a recent multistate outbreak of mumps in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The outbreak involved 62 cases linked to a single asymptomatic wedding attendee. Even though mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease, 41 of the individuals infected in the reported incident had been fully vaccinated according to the current guidelines. What started as a mild illness in a caretaker of children in Nebraska grew into an epidemic involving communities in six different states. This raises concerns about waning immunity from childhood mumps immunization.
Mumps is a highly contagious disease of children and young adults. It is caused by a paramyxovirus of which there is only a single serotype. Humans are the only known host, and infections are spread by direct contact or through droplets from the upper respiratory tract.
The infection may remain asymptomatic for an incubation period that ranges from 12 to 25 days. When symptoms are apparent, mumps can present with initial flulike symptoms, such as fever, congestion and aches, followed by a characteristic painful swelling of the jaw. The index case of the outbreak developed left ear and jaw tenderness the day after attending the wedding. Her jaw swelling was noted 11 days after her initial exposure to the virus. […]