The number of mumps cases has hit a 10-year high, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost every state, including Massachusetts, had confirmed cases in 2015.
The CDC said at last count in early December, there were approximately 4,300 cases nationwide. That number almost tripled the number in 2015.
Some experts say the problem is that the vaccine is not 100 percent effective and almost everyone is getting vaccinated.
Numbers obtained by NBC Boston from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health showed one case of the mumps reported in the year 2000, but there was a significant jump in 2016 to 252 cases.
Doctor Daniel Kuritzes, Infectious Division Chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said some doctors are sensing immunity from mumps vaccines and that the vaccines may not be as long lasting as once hoped.
“There is no vaccine that is going to be 100 percent effective. It’s about 85 percent protection which is really good for a vaccine,” said Kuritzes.
The first vaccination is given at age 15 months, then a second booster between ages 4 and 6.
Mumps are easily transferred through saliva and patients suffer from flu like symptoms and swollen glands. The CDC said patients in recent outbreaks had been immunized and were given a third booster.
Doctor Kuritzes said more research needs to be done before recommendations can be made about whether all adults will need that third shot.
The mumps outbreaks has reignited the vaccination debate. Doctor Kuritzes has told parents who choose not to immunize their children that the vaccine is safe.
“The mumps story is a perfect example of why you want to make sure your kids are vaccinated,” Kuritzes said.
He stressed most adults will not get the disease because they do not live or socialize in close quarters. Good hygiene practices like covering your sneezes and washing your hands help in prevention.