8 Jan 2023


Mumps Epidemic in Iowa, 2006

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Coursework

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Mumps is an ailment characterized by the inflammation of the parotid and salivary glands. The disease was predominant in the pre-vaccine era; however, it has been rare after the onset of the modern era. Back in 2006, an outbreak of mumps was experienced in numerous parts of Iowa. Out of the 219 Cases reported, 48% were individuals between the ages of 18-26 (CDC, 2006). Following the outbreak, many questions ensued as to how the disease spread rapidly despite a huge number of the population having been immunized . Since 1991 residents of Iowa are bound by law to ensure their newborns are vaccinated with a pair of a dose of MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. 

DNA does not allow human beings to be the same; it is these small differences that determine how we take in medicine and react to infections. About the MMR vaccine, even though it works, it does not achieve maximum results in every individual. During a press conference at that time, Dr. Gerberdin deduced that ” Approximately 10% of persons who get both doses of the MMR vaccine remain vulnerable to mumps” (CDC, 2006). Thereby to conclude that the MMR vaccine is dysfunctional as it does not work on a small fraction of the population would be a wrong generalization. 

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On the contrary, Rubin et al. suggest that “the epidemics have also occurred in communities with a historical record of vaccination with the Urabe AM9 and Leningrad-Zagreb strains” (2011). Thus the creation of new mumps vaccine strains would be an unlikely and tiresome solution to a simple problem. Conversely, the remedy would be administering the MMR vaccine at a later stage in life. During the outbreak period, it was observed that army personnel, albeit living in the same area were immune to the infection (Peck, 2006). This was due to the military’s policy of immunizing recruits during admission to the army. 

In conclusion, the MMR vaccine was not a failure during the Iowa outbreak. Since a substantial percentage contracted the disease; other factors such as close contact and drinking parties that facilitated the exchange of saliva among college students could not be ignored. The resulting solution to prevent another epidemic is to subject individuals to another MMR vaccination during their adolescent years, thus justifying the validity of the vaccine. 


Rubin, S. A., Link, M. A., Sauder, C. J., Zhang, C., Ngo, L., Rima, B. K., & Duprex, W. P. (2011). Recent Mumps Outbreaks in Vaccinated Populations: No Evidence of Immune Escape. Journal of Virology, 86 (1), 615-620. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2006). Press Briefing on Mumps Outbreak in the Midwest with Dr. Julie Gerberding, and Dr. Jane Seward. CDC Newsroom . Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/t060419.htm. 

Peck, P. (2006). Iowa Mumps Outbreak Linked to Primary Vaccine Failure. MedPage Today, LLC. Retrieved from http://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/vaccines/2987 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Mumps Epidemic in Iowa, 2006.


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