In Alaska, Getting Mumps Is Preferable to Getting Vaccinated

The MMR vaccine protects against three viral diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella, hence it's name.

We have already seen the devastating consequences of people choosing to forgo vaccination. Measles cases are occurring all over the country. Most infamously, a measles outbreak occurred in 2014-15 at Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth. Currently, Europe is experiencing a massive measles outbreak, which has infected more than 41,000 people and killed 37. Amazingly, Italy has made it even easier for parents to skip out on vaccines.

A new report from the CDC indicates just how incomprehensibly stubborn and stupid our society has become.

In May 2017, somebody from out-of-state visited Anchorage, Alaska. This person brought along a little friend, known as the mumps virus. Soon after, seven more people had mumps, so the Alaska Section of Epidemiology reminded all Alaskans to be sure to be up-to-date on their MMR vaccinations.

Did they listen? Of course not. By mid-November, there were 56 cases of mumps. Once again, Alaska's public health officials told people to get vaccinated, especially if they hang around large groups of people. Specifically, they suggested the MMR3 vaccine. (MMR3 is the third dose of the MMR vaccine; typically, children receive two doses, assuming their parents aren't anti-vaxxers.)

Did their warning work? No. By the end of December, the number of cases had grown to 138, and all of Anchorage was then recommended to get the MMR3 shot. Surely, surely, people paid attention to that... right?

Wrong. By the end of February, there were 247 cases of mumps. Exasperated, Alaska recommended that all citizens receive the MMR3 jab. You can probably guess what happened next. As of July 31, nearly 400 people have been infected.

For the FOMO crowd, fret not. Almost certainly, mumps will be coming to a community near you.

Source: Tiffany A, Shannon D, Mamtchueng W, Castrodale L, McLaughlin J. "Notes from the Field: Mumps Outbreak — Alaska, May 2017-July 2018." MMWR 67 (33): 940-941. Published: 24-Aug-2018. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6733a6