Since the 2006 outbreak, there hasn't been another of the same proportion in the United States, Parker added.
However, the CDC has set a goal of eliminating mumps in the United States by 2010. Although the current vaccine was able to limit the scope of the outbreak, it is only 90 percent effective after two doses, Parker said. "So, even if you had a 100 percent vaccination rate, you would still have 10 out of every 100 people susceptible to mumps," she explained.
To protect people from future outbreaks and reach the 2010 goal, Parker thinks changes in the vaccine to make it more effective or booster shots to preserve immunity should be considered.
One expert thinks the having children vaccinated against mumps is the best way to prevent future outbreaks.
"Since the mumps vaccine was introduced in 1967, there was a dramatic decline in the incidence of mumps not only in our country but in many other countries," said Dr. Paul A. Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Offit agrees that the high rate of vaccination kept the outbreak small, and he doesn't expect to see a similar outbreak anytime soon. But he recommends that children get the full two doses of the MMR vaccine.
However, Offit doesn't think the 2006 outbreak is reason enough to change the current two-shot vaccine policy. "It's been two years since the outbreak, and there hasn't been a similar outbreak. So, I don't think any changes in vaccine policy need to be made at this time, because it will be based on a single outbreak," he said.
But not getting vaccinated at all is taking a risk, Offit said. "The choice not to get vaccinated is not a risk-free choice. It's just a choice to take a different risk," he said. "I think the choice not to get a vaccine for a child is a bad one. Mumps is not a
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