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Four more mumps cases confirmed at Harvard

Harvard now has a total of six mumps cases, the university reported in a memo to the campus community.

Individuals who have previously had mumps are considered immune to the virus. However, those who have been vaccinated for mumps—though much less likely to contract the virus—can still be infected. If you are unsure whether or not you have been vaccinated, you should contact your health care provider.

On Monday, Harvard reported the first two cases of the infection, in an undergraduate student and in a graduate student at the divinity school. Today's memo identifies the new cases as being among students, but does not identify which type.

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Comments

If you are concerned about mumps in general or as a result of this or other outbreaks, ask your doctor about vaccine boosters. It should be in your records if you had one, and your doctor can discuss a booster shot with you if you might need one (if you are unsure that you got the adolescent booster or if you are likely to be exposed, etc.).

Vaccines are still the very best way to prevent infection, and adults sometimes have waning immunity if they haven't had follow up shots for certain types of infections.

The UK had an outbreak a couple of years ago, and revaccinated a number of college students: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jul/04/rise-mumps-waning-immunit...

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Before you run to get a booster shot, first ask your Dr to order a titer (blood test) This test evaluates for concentration of mumps (old MMRP) vaccine in your system. If it is below the effective value, a booster shot will be given. No need to be revaccinated if it is not necessary.

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Titers following MMR vaccination are often not great at picking up immunity, especially if it's been a while since you've been vaccinated.

If you don't know, or you are of an age where you only had one dose and were considered all set, it's easier (and cheaper) to just get another vaccine.

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Good advice, with one correction: in this context, a mumps titre does NOT measure the "concentration of mumps (old MMRP) vaccine in your system." A titre measures the concentration of your own ANTIBODIES to mumps. Vaccines themselves do NOT persist in the body, and without a healthy immune response, a vaccination by itself does nothing to protect against disease.

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Further, I'd really have to question the value of testing for titre in most individuals, except those with known states of immunocompromise. Vaccine is cheap; multiple trips and the cost of titreing, less so. Hard to see the issue with just re-vaccinating in circumstances where records are confused.

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Have they said if these have been unvaccinated people or not?

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Both the memos mentioned the not-100%-effectiveness of the vaccine.

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Massachusetts mandates a full regimen of vaccinations, even for graduate students and commuter students. Meningococcal vaccine is also required for residential students.

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/immunization/guidelines-ma-school...

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I used to work in Harvard Med School department of Genetics. A couple of grad students at lunch were talking about vaccinations bragging about how their primary care physicians signed the vaccination papers without any proof of them having received the vaccinations and boosters.

I bet the vaccine is much more effective than thought, it's just selfish people like her subverting the system and checks because they're lazy.

MGH doesn't mess around - they test. If you don't pass the tests, you get re-vaccinated.

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2005 is not 2016. The universities and the commonwealth have been cracking down on these things after the California mess last year. I have a college age kid and I'm in public health, so I know what is currently going on with enforcement.

I worked at MGH, too, and got revaccinated since I'm old enough that my records were a mess (I moved six times before age 18 and before anyone but parents kept track). They are quite strict, but quite accommodating when it comes to bringing people up to speed.

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A strange illness. I know I felt lousy, with fever and other uncomfortable symptoms. What I remember most is the greasy, black ointment that my mother slathered on my face, and that for some reason the room was kept very dark. Supposedly, it was safer to have mumps when you were young, as it could be more dangerous for older children and adults.

It's a great triumph of modern science that there are now vaccinations for what were once common childhood illnesses. It's unfortunate that some parents foolishly reject protecting their children from such scourges.

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They are failing to protect everyone's children by avoiding vaccinations for mistaken reasons.

My father had polio. He was lucky that it didn't put him in an iron lung or just kill him, but he limped for the rest of his life -- until the polio came back 40 years later and took away his mobility. These anti-vax people are unknowingly putting us at risk of epidemics of polio and other nearly-eradicated diseases.

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The generations that remember the awful effects of these diseases have mostly died from old age at this point, so no one remembers *why* we vaccinate.

Childhood illnesses like polio and measles were still a thing when my parents were kids in the 1930s-40s. You best believe I got all the vaccinations that were recommended for kids in the 1960s-70s.

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I got up for school and realized that she was too sick for me to leave her. I had a learners' permit and carefully examined it to see if the person over age 21 in the passenger seat was required to be conscious!

I really don't think that she ever fully recovered. Her autoimmune illness got much worse after that. Very evil illness.

My uncle got mumps at age 21, and the family story was that was why he and my aunt never had any kids.

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I had the mumps as a kid, in Nursery School, long before the vaccination(s) against mumps even came out. I got a double whammy of the mumps, however; I had them on both sides..at once. It hurt and was extremely uncomfortable, I stayed in bed for a week, but I wasn't constantly exposed to the dark like you were.

I, too agree that many parents are being beyond foolish by refusing to vaccinate their kids against measles, mumps and other childhood diseases, because they're exposing everybody to the possibility of getting a deadly disease. The strains of mumps, measles, etc., that're breaking out these days are much more powerful and much more deadly than the ones that existed prior to the vaccines' coming out.

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