Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said many of the people with mumps in Texas probably did get vaccinated. (That’s not to say he isn’t concerned about historically low vaccinations rates in the state. He is.)
Hotez said the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, known as MMR, is about 80 percent effective.
“Of the three vaccines in that MMR vaccine, mumps is kind of the weak player,” he said.
The disease is spread through coughing and sneezing, as well as sharing cups and utensils. Even if you get two doses of the vaccine, Hotez said, it barely gets you to 90 percent protection if you are exposed to mumps. So, this outbreak probably can’t be pinned to people who didn’t get vaccinated.
Chris Van Deusen with the Texas Department of State Health Services said the outbreak actually has more to do with geography.“They have been experiencing a really bad outbreak in Arkansas,” he said. “They have had almost 3,000 cases to this point. And we know that some of our cases – quite a few – are linked to that outbreak and people who travel back and forth.”