In October of 2016, I saw a news report about a mumps outbreak in Arkansas. The reporter mentioned that mumps causes a flu-like illness that can produce swelling under the jaw, and that the disease can last for about two weeks. However, that report made it sound as if mumps were no big deal. But mumps is a very big deal.
Here are the basic facts that reporters should explain whenever mumps breaks out:
- Mumps is rarely fatal, but it can leave its victims deaf in one or both ears.
- Mumps can cause painful swelling of the testicles and can leave men sterile.
- Mumps is a respiratory virus, which is why it spreads easily from person to person.
- Vaccination is the only reliable way to prevent infections that spread easily from person to person.
- The vaccine against the mumps is part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combined vaccine.
- To prevent mumps, we need to vaccinate as many people as possible. If a large enough percentage of the population is immunized, then mumps stops spreading.
- By vaccinating everyone who can be vaccinated, we can protect the people who cannot be vaccinated (infants and people with immune system problems).
- A global vaccination campaign could drive measles, mumps, and rubella into extinction.
Here are some useful memes for fighting mumps: