Mumps outbreak has ended

From May 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, 391 confirmed and probable mumps cases were identified in Alaska; over 90 percent of these cases occurred in Anchorage residents. Four patients were hospitalized, and none died. An Epidemiology Bulletin issued this December provides more details on the largest documented mumps outbreak in Alaska since case reporting records began in the 1970s.

Other states have also experienced mumps outbreaks in recent years, due in part to waning immunity of the mumps component of the MMR vaccine over time. Alaska was one of the first states in the nation to recommend a third dose of MMR in the context of a mumps outbreak, which may have helped end the outbreak sooner than it would have without the recommendation.  Initially, the third dose was recommended only for those at increased risk for contracting mumps, but that was later expanded to include any Alaska resident who wanted additional protection during the outbreak. Since the outbreak officially ended on Sept. 30, 2018, vaccination with a third dose of MMR vaccine is no longer recommended.

Although Alaska’s mumps outbreak is now over, healthcare providers should continue to be watchful for new cases of mumps in light of heightened mumps activity nationally, and work to ensure that all Alaskans are current with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. More information about mumps is available here.

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