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    As Arkansas outbreak ends, third MMR dose debate renewed

    As Arkansas reigns in one of the largest outbreaks of mumps in the last three decades, there is renewed discussion about whether a third dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is warranted.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommends two doses of MMR for children, and one to two doses for adults depending on their situation and needs. Two doses are recommended specifically for adults working in healthcare, traveling internationally or attending college, according to ACIP. As for a third, or booster dose, ACIP states that there is not sufficient data at this time either for or against a third vaccination to make a formal recommendation, although third doses have been given and found to be at least somewhat effective during recent outbreaks.

    The CDC states that public health authorities may administer a third MMR dose for specifically targeted populations, but should first confirm whether the individual has already has two doses of the vaccine, if there is intense exposure to the facilitate transmission of the virus and if high attack rates are present.

    “Additional data on the effectiveness and impact of a third dose of MMR vaccine for mumps outbreak control are needed to guide control strategies in future outbreaks,” according to CDC’s online guidance. “Authorities who decide to administer a third dose as part of mumps outbreak control are encouraged to collect data to evaluate the impact of the intervention.”

    Some of the data that should be collected includes incidence of mumps in the target population, and the incidence of adverse events following a third dose.

    Next: Unusual outbreak in Arkansas

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Ms Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare Executive, and ...

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