The Lady Speaks

The Return of Mumps

Update: (9:54a, 4-22-06) has a list of FAQs about mumps here.
* * * *
A disease once thought largely eradicated in the US is making its way through college campuses in the Midwest. The good news? Mumps is almost never fatal. (Almost never – kinda like that 'virtually spotless' bullsh*t the dishwasher detergent companies try to sell us.)

From Newsweek:

For the last three weeks, mumps, a virus many people think of as an early-20th-century disease of children, has been moving through Midwestern college towns like so many spring tornadoes. The largest U.S. eruption of the disease in 20 years has sickened 1,165 people and counting in eight states; seven other states are investigating whether they may have caught the same strain. Although doctors said last week that some recent cases in North Dakota and Michigan were not linked to the larger Midwestern outbreak, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials announced Thursday that the epidemic was indeed "unstable" and spreading, and that they couldn't predict where it would show up next. It has already made it as far west as Nebraska–assuming a possible case in California turns out to be a false alarm–and as far east as Indiana. "It's a cascade of transmission that's going to take a while to curtail and stop," says CDC Director Julie Gerberding. "We are expecting more cases, definitely."


Mumps is spread by coughing and sneezing, and victims also are contagious for three days before they develop symptoms, so the close quarters of college are a naturally vulnerable site for the virus to spread. "This happened on spring break, and it's very easy to unwittingly spread it," Watson says. If the disease hasn't retreated by summer, kids leaving school could cause another wave of infection in parts of the country that thus far remain unaffected.

So, to all you idiot parents out there who didn't bother immunizing their kids – either from sheer ignorance or willful stupidity – or didn't follow through and make sure their kids received the boosters: Way to go! Hope you'll all happy once your child contracts a serious, possibly deadly illness like diphtheria or polio.

Yeah, I know some of you are going to say, "But…but…thimerosol…autism.." blah, blah, blah.

You know what? Whether there is an actual link or not – and it has NEVER been definitively proven that there is one – I would rather protect my kids from the known effects of a possibly deadly disease than worry about a miniscule chance of autism. Even if your child is one of the lucky ones who doesn't die from a 'kids disease', there can be lasting effects from sterilization (mumps) to paralysis (polio).


April 21, 2006 - Posted by | Children, Health, Immunizations


  1. Hey PA! I posted a comment on your Free Speech thread, but for some reason it never posted.

    It just so happens that I live in a college town in the midwest and we’ve had about 125 mumps cases here. It is awful, wonder how this happneed. I even heard on local news here this morning that there have been several kids who got the mumps after being immunized. I’m just glad I carry my own pen! lol

    Hope you are feeling better dear, I’ll be checking back in soon!


    Comment by MrEMan | April 21, 2006 | Reply

  2. There have been outbreaks of polio in Africa and India because people refuse to get vaccinations. Communities near outbreaks change their minds real fast when they see the results.

    My father had polio when he was twelve. He fully recovered after a year but he said it was no picnic. More than seventy years later, he still has residual effects. Yep, my brothers and I were vaccinated.

    Comment by Poechewe | April 22, 2006 | Reply

  3. Same here. My mother (born in 1950) had whooping cough at age 6, and had friends and family who got one or another of these diseases, so she was religious in making sure my siblings and I were vaccinated.

    I think that’s much of the problem – those who aren’t vaccinating their kids out of fear of autism, etc, aren’t old enough to remember the actual effects of the diseases. They don’t have the personal experience to tell them that the disease is FAR worse than the ‘cure’.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 22, 2006 | Reply

  4. Nice post PA. I have friends that recently grappled with MMR/Autism and decided to have their baby immunized, but several of their friends chose not to. One recently found that their baby’s serum lead level was very high…from their city’s water supply. I’m glad I’m not having to deal with these issues, yet their decisions affect us all.

    Comment by mirth | April 22, 2006 | Reply

  5. I have a cousin whose youngest son had a very high lead count, and it turned out their well had been contaminated. They moved, just to find out the city water in their new home was contaminated with carcinogens from an IBM facility.

    It kind of points out the scariest part of parenting: you can do all the right stuff, follow all the recommendations, etc., and something can still sneak through your defenses and hurt your child.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 22, 2006 | Reply

  6. E: Well, I finally found your comments – hiding in the spam filter for some odd reason!

    When I was doing some reading at, it mentioned that 10% of those who’ve received both MMR shots can still contract mumps, though in a more moderate form. Of those who’ve only gotten one shot, 20% can still get the disease.

    Comment by PA_Lady | April 22, 2006 | Reply

  7. wow fukin ignorant poeple ever heard of nutrition stop relying on the government to keep you healthy maybe lay off the drive thru

    Comment by harmony | May 17, 2007 | Reply

  8. Never believe that a bug is completely “eradicated” or controlled. Mother Nature is in charge of these matters, not us. Only arrogance equal to that of a person in the White House would presume that we could really defeat millions of years of evolution, for example: abstinence programs.

    Comment by Jim Burke | May 17, 2007 | Reply

  9. Harmony: Not sure what nutrition has to do with the return of mumps. Last I knew, mumps was a viral disease that has nothing to do with what one eats or doesn’t.

    Jim: Agreed. True eradication isn’t possible, but immunization is helpful in lowering the number of those who die or are permanently maimed as a result of those diseases.

    And, of course, Ma Nature is a tricky little lady, and mutations are common, so we’re never 100% safe.

    Comment by PA_Lady | May 17, 2007 | Reply

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