Public Health officials have declared that an outbreak of more than 1,600 mumps cases in the state of Arkansas this fall is due to the emergence of a new strain of the disease that the vaccine does not protect against. The new strain may be caused by the vaccine and it shows no signs of abating.
“Many of the children that are testing positive for mumps have been vaccinated,” according to a report on KTHV news in Little Rock.”We are actually to the point that we are worried that this vaccine may indeed not be protecting
“We are actually to the point that we are worried that this vaccine may indeed not be protecting against the strain of mumps that is circulating as well as it could,” state epidemiologist Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health said. “It’s not turning a corner; it is continuing to get worse.”
The ADH, as well as the Center for Disease Control, is currently holding vaccination clinics in the northwestern part of the state nonetheless, claiming that the vaccine can lessen the disease severity.
“The MMR vaccine usually lasts 15-20 years, on average, but at that point, it kind of starts depleting,” said Lisa Roberts, a nurse at the Shot Clinic in Little Rock. “So, people want to get in and get that booster.”
Health Department Lost Health Records
According to the Little Rock news station THV11, Arkansas’ Health Department “lost quite a few immunization records, so you may have a hard time finding out if you’re fully vaccinated.” The station advised viewers not to worry and suggested taking the MMR vaccine again since they “can’t over-vaccinate.”
Leaky Vaccines Cause “Hot” Virus Strains to Evolve
The phenomenon called “vaccine-induced strain replacement” is a serious but only recently identified problem for vaccine manufacturers and public health promoters. Just as antibiotics can lead to the emergence of resistant “superbugs” that do not respond to treatment, new research suggests “vaccination, which intensifies and modifies selection by protecting hosts against one or more pathogen strains, can drive the emergence of new dominant pathogen strains” according to a report in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
A study published in the journal PLOS Biology in July 2015 confirmed the theory as an actual phenomenon. American and British researchers carried out experiments with various strains of a herpes virus that cause Marek’s disease in poultry. The disease used to be non-serious but evolved in the last 60 years to become a lethal disease of poultry which attacks the nerves and causes paralysis and widespread tumors.
The study showed that not only do chickens vaccinated against the disease shed the virus and pass it on but those unvaccinated birds who were infected were killed by the lethal strain.
“Our research demonstrates that the use of leaky vaccines can promote the evolution of nastier ‘hot’ viral strains that put unvaccinated individuals at greater risk,” concluded Venugopal Nair, a professor who heads an avian viral disease program at the Pirbright Institute in the UK and author of the study.
Penn State University professor Andrew Read, the study’s lead author said he was concerned that vaccines for human diseases, if leaky as well, could spur the evolution of more virulent strains of pathogens.
Arkansas’ outbreak may be evidence of the phenomenon occurring in humans.
Mumps is an acute viral illness that usually affects the salivary glands one or both sides of the face. Patients may also suffer fatigue, loss of appetite, malaise, headache, and low-grade fever and gland swelling for 7-10 days.
Orchitis, or swelling of the testicles is a common complication, affecting up to 10 percent of postpubertal males infected with mumps. Less than 1 percent of females may also experience oophoritis, or inflammation of an ovary which may mimic appendicitis.
According to the Arkansas Medical Society, about one-third of infected individuals may not notice symptoms at all.