Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mumps Cases on the Rise in Colorado

Nearly twice as many cases of mumps have been reported in Colorado so far in 2017 as in all of 2016, according to the Colorado Department of Health. As of February 9, 2017, 27 cases of mumps had been diagnosed, and that number is expected to grow. 

On February 9, the state health department sent a letter to school nurses statewide to send home to inform families about the mumps outbreak and encourage vaccination

In 2016, 17 cases of mumps were reported statewide - a number that far outpaced the Colorado five-year average of 5.6 cases per year. And, even though 2017 has already eclipsed last year, 2016 was a bad year for mumps across the country. In the U.S., there were 5,311 cases of mumps. Eight states reported more than 100 cases.

“Because of the high numbers of mumps cases across the country, it is especially important to make sure your children are vaccinated,” said Rachel Herlihy, director of the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a news release from the CDPHE. “Both adults and children should make sure they are up to date on their mumps vaccine.”

Orlando Lucero, 7, watches as Mountain View Fire Rescue fire-medic Micah Arnold applies a bandage to
the site of his vaccine at the Shots for Tots and Teens clinic Feb. 4, 2017 in Arvada.
Photo by Nikki Work

The MMR vaccine, as well as many other immunizations, are offered Monday-Friday at the Jefferson County Public Health Clinic, 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood. To learn more about JCPH clinic services, call (303) 239-7078 or visit http://jeffco.us/public-health/healthy-families/immunizations/.

Low cost immunizations will also be offered at the Shots for Tots and Teens clinic on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Arvada Fire Station #2, 5250 Oak Street. To learn more about this program, call (303) 239-7078 or visit www.shotsfortotsandteens.org.

According to a new survey about 80 percent of Americans support mandatory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines for children in public schools, MedlinePlus reported.

A sticker sits on the table where children received their vaccines February 4, 2017
at the Shots For Tots and Teens clinic in Arvada.
Photo by Nikki Work

But the support varies by age group, education level and even race. For parents of young children, only about 50 percent believe the risk of the vaccine is low. For adults without children under 18, that number jumps to about 70 percent.

Wealthier Americans and those with higher education levels also support vaccines more. Black Americans, like parents of younger children, showed doubts about its safety.

The public health benefit of vaccines depends on very high immunization rates, said study lead Cary Funk. That’s why it’s important to know who does and doesn’t have reservations about these vaccines, so more information can reach these groups.

So far in 2017, 14 cases of mumps have been reported in Colorado, a number that’s expected to rise as the investigation of the outbreak continues. That’s nearly as high as the 17 total cases reported in 2016. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the five-year average of mumps cases in the state is 5.6 cases per year.

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