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Mumps strategy needs boost, doctors say

Written by kumaran   // May 16, 2011   // Comments Off


Canada’s attack on the mumps and measles needs to be bolstered to eliminate the disease, researchers say.

A study in Monday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal evaluated the effectiveness of one and two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine during a measles outbreak in Ontario between September 2009 and June 2010.

Of the 134 people confirmed to have measles, only 114 had an available vaccination history. Of these, 82 people, or 72 per cent, had received either no vaccine or just one dose, Dr. Shelley Deeks of the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion and her co-authors found.
Ontario had a single-dose immunization program from 1975 until 1996, when a second dose was introduced. All provinces and territories now have a two-dose policy, but the schedule for the doses varies among jurisdictions.

Not all young people get the shots, and the researchers say even two doses may not be enough. Mumps outbreaks in places with two-dose vaccination policies are unusual, but they have become more frequent since 2006, the researchers noted.

After reviewing data on the effectiveness of one and two doses of the MMR vaccine, they concluded 88 to 98 per cent of the population would have to be vaccinated to stop the spread of mumps. And the vaccine itself might have to change, they said. ”It is unlikely that we will be able to eliminate mumps with the current vaccine and vaccination policies and at the current levels of coverage,” the authors wrote.

“Improving the coverage of two doses of MMR vaccine is critical to the prevention of further outbreaks of mumps.” Outbreaks of mumps in Canada, the U.S. and abroad should serve as a reminder that public health officials “cannot become complacent about vaccination programs or maximizing vaccine coverage,” they added.

The authors suggested officials closely monitor waning immunity levels and decide whether a third dose of MMR vaccine is necessary or whether a different vaccine should be considered.

Their analysis suggested people born between 1980 and 1994 were more likely than expected to become infected with mumps — especially those born between 1985 and 1991 — than tthose currently aged 15 to 24.

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