Little Rock, Ark.(KTHV) - The Arkansas Department of Health is fighting the largest mumps outbreak the state has had in decades. The state is now up to 551 cases of mumps.
More than 30 schools in Northwest Arkansas have reported at least one student with the mumps virus. Now, those cases are spreading to adults according to Dr. Dirk Haselow, an epidemiologist at UAMS.
"It's keeping a large number of kids out of school, it's disrupting the school and work environments in Northwest Arkansas," said Dr. Haselow. "We need people to commit to come together and help us fight this outbreak by making sure everyone gets vaccinated when they're asked to."
The Arkansas Department of Health is holding a mass MMR immunization clinic in the Northwest part of the state. So far, they have vaccinated around 2,500 people. Dr. Haselow said it's worthwhile for everyone to make sure they're up to date on their shots.
"If you're not in the involved counties, you don't have to do that urgently. We want people to make sure their kids are up to date and they're up to date," he explained.
The recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine are approximately 88% effective at preventing a mumps infection. In some cases, the health department is recommending a third dose of the vaccine.
"If the outbreak involves your home or your school you may be recommended to get a third dose," he said. "If you're not aware of that, no there's no need to seek out a third dose unless you're involved in the outbreak."
You can contact the health department to check the status of your immunizations.