Updated
June 23rd, 2019

Indiana University Mumps Outbreak Reveals Waning MMR Vaccine Protection

Third MMR vaccination reduces mumps risks for under-immunized people

college classroom

The mumps outbreak on the Indiana University campus has now reached 16 cases and is revealing the ‘waning’ protection from the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

According to an Indiana University (IU) spokesperson on April 16, 2019, 14 of the students involved in the mumps outbreak in Bloomington, IN, were previously vaccinated prior to their mumps diagnoses. 

This insight has prompted IU health officials to offer additional MMR shots, according to News 8 reporting. 

"They've (students) been able to get a 3rd MMR shot," Chuck Carney, Director of Media Relations, told News 8. "What that (vaccination) does is provide a boost of immunity... It will help people stave off this illness." 

Nine of the 16 mumps cases are associated with an IU fraternity, according to Carney. He said that includes members who live in the house, members who do not live in the house and non-members who have been to the house. 

However, only 58 percent of the fraternity's 149 members opted to receive a 3rd dose of the MMR vaccine when it was offered for free during the clinic held on April 4, 2019. 

The first two cases were identified in February 2019. 

Carney said the IU Health Center still sees about 3 people come in for testing each day and expects a few more mumps diagnoses. 

The Indiana State Department of Health indicated a campus-wide vaccination clinic is not necessary at the time, Carey said to News 8. 

People who have received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are about 9 times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to the mumps virus, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

However, some fully immunized people can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease. 

Such as living on a college campus. 

Sponsored Links:

According to a Harvard study, one potential cause of these mumps outbreaks is ‘waning vaccine immunity.’ 

This Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study found that vaccine-derived immune protection against mumps persists on average for just 27 years, after the last administered dose. 

In response to this information, the CDC released new guidance during November 2018, suggesting when the 3rd dose of mumps vaccine is appropriate. 

Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the disease. However, in rare cases, mumps can cause more severe complications

The CDC says that if you have questions related to the mumps virus or any infectious disease, you should speak with a healthcare provider. 

From January to March 29, 2019, 34 states and the District of Columbia in the USA have reported mumps infections in 426 people to CDC. 

Recent mumps cases in the news:

In the USA, most pharmacies offer mumps vaccination services. To schedule an appointment with a pharmacist visit this site.

Mumps vaccine discounts and financial assistance can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

Relevant Links:  CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.