Health

Why the mumps are back — and what to do about it

The US and Europe have seen several outbreaks of mumps, a contagious viral disease, in the past couple of years. It is spread through saliva and mucus and causes fever, muscle aches and the loss of appetite.

This is the first noticeable series of outbreaks since 2006 when the disease infected students on college campuses. Outbreaks typically occur in settings where there is crowding and close contact.

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According to Harvard researchers, the disease’s reappearance may be due to waning off of past vaccines.

Which one? The MMR. You or your child may have been given two doses.

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Based on a new study and recent outbreaks, we now know the vaccine doesn’t last forever. It is estimated to last, on average,
27 years.

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The good news? There may be a simple solution: Booster shots.

Based on research, a booster dose for your kid at age 18 would be best.

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Why 18? People can be exposed to illnesses when they begin to congregate in places such as college campuses, military bases or corporate offices.

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Booster shots won’t prevent illness completely but may make it milder and prevent unwanted complications. The solution isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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