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nprglobalhealth:

Why Mumps And Measles Can Spread Even When We’re Vaccinated
More than two months ago, a nasty mumps outbreak erupted at Ohio State University. Now the outbreak has ballooned to to more than 230 cases and spilled over into two counties.
Here’s what’s surprising: Many of those who got sick had previously been immunized against mumps. 
Then a few weeks ago scientists reported a similar situation with the measles. A young woman in New York caught the virus in 2011 even though she, too, had been vaccinated, scientists reported last week. “Measles Mary,” as Science magazine called her, also spread the virus to four others.
What’s going on here? Is one of our best shields against infectious illness faltering?
To answer those questions, we talked with a vaccine specialist, Dr. William Schaffner at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Why can you still get the mumps and measles even if you’re vaccinated?
Measles is a terrific vaccine. If you get two doses, it’s predicted to protect 99.99 percent of people for life.
That case in New York was so unusual that it’s come to everyone’s attention. On rare occasions, the virus trumps an individual’s protection.
The mumps vaccine, on the other hand, is not so good. The protection rate varies from study to study. But it’s usually in the mid-80s.
Both vaccines, for mumps and measles, are tamed versions of the viruses. The viruses aren’t killed but what we call attenuated, live viruses.
If you don’t attenuate the mumps virus enough, you get better protection but more complications with the vaccine.
So we’re walking a fine line. To avoid complications, the mumps vaccine doesn’t protect as well as the measles.
We wish we had a better mumps vaccine.
So the outbreak at Ohio State University is due to “vaccine failure,” not declining immunization rates in the U.S.?
Continue reading. 
Photo: Potent but not perfect: Medical assistant Elissa Ortivez prepares a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at a clinic in Walsenburg, Colo. (John Moore/Getty Images)

nprglobalhealth:

Why Mumps And Measles Can Spread Even When We’re Vaccinated

More than two months ago, a nasty mumps outbreak erupted at Ohio State University. Now the outbreak has ballooned to to more than 230 cases and spilled over into two counties.

Here’s what’s surprising: Many of those who got sick had previously been immunized against mumps. 

Then a few weeks ago scientists reported a similar situation with the measles. A young woman in New York caught the virus in 2011 even though she, too, had been vaccinated, scientists reported last week. “Measles Mary,” as Science magazine called her, also spread the virus to four others.

What’s going on here? Is one of our best shields against infectious illness faltering?

To answer those questions, we talked with a vaccine specialist, Dr. William Schaffner at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Why can you still get the mumps and measles even if you’re vaccinated?

Measles is a terrific vaccine. If you get two doses, it’s predicted to protect 99.99 percent of people for life.

That case in New York was so unusual that it’s come to everyone’s attention. On rare occasions, the virus trumps an individual’s protection.

The mumps vaccine, on the other hand, is not so good. The protection rate varies from study to study. But it’s usually in the mid-80s.

Both vaccines, for mumps and measles, are tamed versions of the viruses. The viruses aren’t killed but what we call attenuated, live viruses.

If you don’t attenuate the mumps virus enough, you get better protection but more complications with the vaccine.

So we’re walking a fine line. To avoid complications, the mumps vaccine doesn’t protect as well as the measles.

We wish we had a better mumps vaccine.

So the outbreak at Ohio State University is due to “vaccine failure,” not declining immunization rates in the U.S.?

Continue reading

Photo: Potent but not perfect: Medical assistant Elissa Ortivez prepares a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at a clinic in Walsenburg, Colo. (John Moore/Getty Images)