Experts say America not ready for mumps outbreak

American’s immunity against the mumps is at a level barely capable of preventing an outbreak, experts have revealed.

Only about 90 percent of young to middle-aged Americans have the antibodies needed to protect against the mumps virus, according to findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that were recently reported by Reuters.

Estimates are that 90 to 92 percent of the population must be immunized in order to provide what is known as “herd immunity,” where enough of a population is immunized to prevent a significant outbreak.

The CDC recommends that children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine - the first between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and the second between four to six years.

A double dose of the MMR vaccine is still only effective in between 80 to 90 percent of cases, causing some to believe that a third dose might be needed. The CDC’s lead researcher for the study, Dr. Preeta Kutty, told Reuters that any changes to the vaccine schedule remain an open question.

Mumps is a virus that can cause fever, headache, muscle pain and a characteristic swelling of the glands around the jaw. Usually, the symptoms end in only a few weeks, but in extreme cases the infection can cause encephalitis, temporary hearing loss and a swelling of the testicles or ovaries.