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A face-to-face educational technique used among Orthodox Jews apparently led to an outbreak of mumps in 2009 and 2010 even though most of those infected were properly vaccinated, according to a new study. The outbreak, detailed in the November 1 New England Journal of Medicine, illustrates how close repeated contact with an infected person can overwhelm the mumps vaccine.
"The risk of infection with mumps may be higher when the exposure dose of virus is large or intensely transmitted," the researchers concluded in their report. This may also explain why the mumps vaccine tends to be less effective among household contacts than among school or community contacts, they added.
In all, 3,502 cases were reported over a one year period beginning in June 2009 in New Jersey, New York City and New York State's Orange and Rockland counties. A camp in the Catskill Mountains was the source. The research team, from the involved state health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studied 1,648 of those cases, nearly all of them Orthodox Jews. The researchers found that 89 percent had received the recommended two doses of the mumps vaccine.
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