A CLOSER LOOK: resurgence of measles and mumps


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) confirmed more than two dozen cases of mumps have been reported at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Twenty, of the 26 cases, were reported in November. All 26 were vaccinated except for one person.

The last time Arkansas had a mumps outbreak was in 2016-2017 with a total of 2,954 cases between August 2016 and August 2017, according to the ADH.

On August 8, 2016, one confirmed case in Arkansas was reported to the ADH; an adult resident from Springdale. The following summer, 37 of Arkansas’ 75 counties reported mumps cases to the ADH. More than 50% of the cases were in the Marshallese community. Arkansas’ mumps outbreak was the second-largest in 30 years, according to Elsevier, a global analytics firm that focuses on science, health, and technology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in Arkansas:

  • 2016: 6,366 cases reported to the CDC (approximate)
  • 2012: 299 cases reported to the CDC
  • 1967: Before the mumps vaccination program started, 186,000 cases were reported every year

National mumps outbreak per the CDC:

  • 2009 – 2010: More than 3,000 people in New York City from a religious community and were in close contact through school. The outbreak happened when a student returned from the United Kingdom where a large mumps outbreak was going on.
  • The second outbreak was in Guam and involved 500, mostly school-aged children.
  • 2006: A multi-state mumps outbreak of more than 6,500 reported cases. College-aged students from the Midwest — many from college campuses.

Mumps and measles are both viral diseases.

Mumps is caused by the mumps virus and impacts the upper respiratory tract.

Measles spread by coming into contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms of mumps and measles both include fever.

This image depicts a child with a mumps infection. Note the characteristic swollen neck region due to an enlargement of the boy’s salivary glands. (CDC, 1976)

Mumps causes headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, no appetite, and swollen salivary glands.

The skin of a person after three days with measles rash (CDC)

Measles causes rash, cough, runny nose and red/watery eyes.

Mumps can sometimes cause additional problems for adults who get this disease, for example, inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, pancreas, brain, and deafness, according to the CDC.

The only way to know if you’re immune to measles is by getting a blood test. Mumps immunity for most people happens if they’re fully vaccinated.

The mumps and measles vaccination comes in two doses — 12 to 15 months of age, the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. This is usually given part of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

Vaccinations are not recommended for everyone, or some should wait, such as a woman who is pregnant, a person with a weakened immune system, or has tuberculosis to name a few.

Forty-eight states and D.C. had mumps infections from January 1 to October 11, 2019, according to the CDC.


The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that globally, 140,000 people died from measles in 2018. Most of the deaths were children younger than five years of age. WHO states, “cases surge worldwide.”

As of November 5, 2019, more than 440,000 cases have been reported to WHO. The most effective way to reduce measles cases is to do the two-dose immunization, according to WHO.

Currently, WHO recommends the use of the MMR vaccine to control mumps, but mumps is not as prevalent as the surge of the outbreak of measles in all regions.

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease. However, one reason for the surge of the disease is because for the last decade vaccination rates [globally] have stayed stagnant, according to WHO.

“The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable children,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

“In 2018, the most affected countries and accounted for almost half of all measles cases worldwide”:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Somalia
  • Ukraine

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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