Web Zap*Germs Archive

April 21, 2006

US Mumps Epidemic Continues

The mumps virus outbreak has afflicted over 1,100 in Iowa and other midwestern states, and will likely spread as college student end the academic year and travel around the country. So says the CDC. "This is an unstable situation right now,' said Julie L. Gerberding, CDC director.

The CDC has dispatched teams to Iowa and Nebraska to help health workers try to contain the outbreak, mainly by urging people to watch for symptoms so they can be diagnosed and isolated quickly, and by inoculating unvaccinated adults. The epidemic has disproportionately affected young, healthy adults, including many college students.

"We really can't predict at this point of time where the virus will go next," said Gerberding.

Over 50,000 vaccine doses are heading for Iowa and other states, where they'll be given to "high-risk groups" including college students and health-care workers.

Scientists are testing the virus to see whether it is unusually infectious, or less susceptible to the vaccine; and, whether the vaccine is less effective or wears off more quickly than had been thought.



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