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Mumps And The MMR Vaccine

Read ahead for everything related to Mumps and the MMR vaccine!

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What is Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious, childhood disease caused by the mumps virus and characterized by a fever, bodyache, and inflamed salivary glands. Before the vaccine was used,186,000 cases of this terrible disease were reported every year in the United States alone (not counting cases that weren't reported). Mumps can even have later effects including meningitis, encephalitis, deafness, and even death. Since the virus usually spread through infected people who cough and sneeze, outbreaks occur in places where people are close together.

The Mumps Vaccine

There's no treatment for Mumps, but you can keep yourself and others safe by receiving a vaccine by your pharmacist or primary doctor. A vaccine is something you're given, usually injection, that provides your body immunity against a disease. The vaccine given against Mumps is combined with vaccines against two other childhood diseases: Measles and Rubella. Together, they form the MMR vaccine!

The MMR Vaccine

The MMR vaccine is so safe and protective that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends two doses of MMR: one for those between 12 age 15 months of age, and a second for those between 4 and 6 years of age. The MMR vaccine is live-attenuated, which means that the agents which cause disease are weakened, so your body learns how to fight these three diseases without getting you sick.

How did they come up with this stuff?

Famous biologist Dr. Maurice Hilleman felt a lump on his daughter Jeryl Lynn's jaw one night. Figuring she was ill with Mumps, he brought her samples to his lab to study. He decided to grow the virus in chick cells to weaken the virus for humans. After more testing, this proved to be the first mumps vaccine! According to Dr. Dayan and the New England Journal of Medicine, "widespread use of the recommended second dose of MMR vaccine for measles control among schoolchildren was followed by historically low rates of mumps, and an elimination goal for mumps was set for 2010.". This changed everything. In the famous words of Dr. Hilleman, "Jeryl Lynne recovered from the mumps, but mumps virus never recovered from Jeryl."

How safe is the MMR vaccine?

According to the CDC, two doses of the MMR vaccine are up to 95% effective against mumps. Side effects are very rare, but include a fever and a rash in infants. Millions of kids have safely received the vaccine and continue to receive it every year. A former doctor (emphasis on former) named Andrew Wakefield tried to spread false rumors that this vaccine causes autism. In fact, he even fudged his data! Since then, other people have studied such a link and have found that he lied.


Andrey Kuzmin / Andrey Kuzmin - Fotolia

The MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent three deadly diseases including Mumps. Keep children healthy by getting yourself and others vaccinated with the MMR!

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