According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45 states and the District of Columbia have reported mumps cases in nearly 3,000 people. In 2015 and 2016 these outbreaks have been primarily associated with college settings.

Mumps can spread even in highly vaccinated populations. Why does this occur? A number of factors contribute to the spread of mumps, but vaccine effectiveness is of primary importance. CDC recommends TWO doses of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella with an average effectiveness of 88%. Comparatively, one dose is only 78% effective. In addition, behaviors such as kissing, sharing utensils, lipstick or cigarettes can also spread this very contagious virus.

What can you do to prevent the spread of mumps? Review your vaccination status with your doctor to ensure you have received two doses of the vaccine. Limit activity that would spread the virus.

If you believe you have symptoms of the mumps, see your doctor who will likely order lab tests to determine if you do have the mumps. These tests are performed by highly trained Medical Laboratory Scientists who play a vital role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Laboratory tests serve as the foundation for the diagnosis and management of many conditions, including infectious diseases like the mumps. How would you like to be a disease detective? Click here if you would like to learn more about the Medical Laboratory Science Program at Stevenson University.