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Urgent Message from Community Doctors Regarding Mumps Outbreak

In a letter sent home from schools, community physicians warn of a Mumps outbreak in our community. The note said that “although at this time seems concentrated amongst adolescent boys; we expect will spread further throughout the community.” The note goes on to explain what the symptoms are and how to go about treating it.

An Urgent Message from the Healthcare Providers of Our Community Concerning the Recent Outbreak of Mumps

There has recently been an outbreak of mumps that although at this time seems concentrated amongst adolescent boys; we expect will spread further throughout the community.

What is mumps?

Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness spread by droplets (i.e. the tiny droplets of saliva and other respiratory secretions that are exchanged when people are close to one another).

What is the incubation period for mumps?

The incubation period of mumps is a long one, extending from 2-3 weeks. That means that a person exposed to mumps will not present with the illness until 2-3 weeks later.
The infectious period of mumps begins 2-3 days prior to the onset of symptoms and extends for at least 5 days after the onset of symptoms.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Most eases begin with mild non-specific symptoms such as headache and fatigue, during which time the infected individual is contagious. They might then progress to the clinical illness of mumps which is often mild involving swelling of the salivary glands (the glands that make saliva) located in front of and below the ear.

Other salivary glands under the jaw may also be involved. The swelling may be on one or both sides and is commonly associated with pain during eating, particularly food stuffs that stimulate the flow of saliva such as citrus. The illness usually lasts up to a week and gets better spontaneously.

Are there complications from mumps?

About 10-15% of all those infected with mumps may, G-d forbid, develop complications such as: severe headache, inflammation of the gonads (testicles or ovaries) and less frequently damage to the hearing apparatus and inflammation of the pancreas. Although most of the complications do resolve without consequence, rarely there is long-lasting damage to the affected organ(s).

Is there antiviral treatment for mumps?

At this time there is no antiviral medication for mumps that is known to work.

What is the treatment for affected individuals?
Treatment of affected individuals consists of:
1) Isolation: that means stay home
2) Rest and fluids until completely better
3) Analgesia (relief of pain and discomfort) with Tylenol and/or Motrin as needed

What should I do to help prevent infection’?

Universal hygiene precautions should always be in place. These are:

I) Frequent hand washing
2) Covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Don’t sneeze into your hand but rather into a tissue or the crook of the arm,
3) If your children are not well, keep them home until it becomes clear what they have.

What about vaccination for mumps?

This is an unfolding situation and a rather novel one. Therefore, there remain some unanswered questions regarding the current outbreak as to the effectiveness of vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is usually given at one year and a booster dose at 4 years of age.

The recommendation has always been, and continues to be, that all children receive 2 shots of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) in order to be maximally protected. There is no single component vaccine available. When all the individuals in a group are vaccinated, there exists “herd immunity”. Unvaccinated individuals allow the virus to take hold, gather velocity and spread throughout the group.

Many of the cases in the current outbreak have occurred in children who had previously received 2 doses of the vaccine. This obviously raises questions about the effectiveness of the mumps vaccine currently in use against the strain currently circulating. Nevertheless, the CDC together with the NYC Health Department are still strongly advising, that although not perfect, the best protection remains giving all children 2 doses of vaccine.

Anyone who has been exposed (and by this time having just finished Tishrei, the assumption is that most people have been exposed) will probably not benefit from post-exposure vaccination. This means that if one’s sibling or classmate has mumps, there is little likelihood that unvaccinated individuals who receive vaccine at this time will be protected in the current outbreak.

There does not appear to be any added benefit to receiving a third booster vaccination in those that have had 2 vaccinations already.

Do I need to see a doctor?

In the usual situation, the answer is no. In the event that you feel that your child is particularly ill, please make an appointment to see your doctor. Make sure to inform the secretary that you or your child has mumps so appropriate isolation precautions can be taken.

We hope that these recommendations are clear and will be followed, particularly those concerning isolation of affected individuals.

Eli Rosen, MD
Avraham Gottesman, MD
Howard Levine, MD
Allan Plaut, MD
Robert Feldman, MD
David Hurwitz, MD
Thomas Rehm, MD


  • 1. i.e wrote:

    in other words – for all those who choose not to vaccinate your children…
    it is through your selfishness that the rest of us have to suffer.
    Thank you

  • 4. mumps wrote:

    at this point there is probably no point of vaccinating your children being that i had two vaccinations and i have the mumps

  • 5. to i.e. wrote:

    Your statement is totally untrue. Obviously, vaccinations have little or no effect with this strain of mumps. Not to mention, new borns and infants cannot get the vaccination.So is it the parents selfishness in that case? But the bigger point is this: isn’t the vaccination supposed to protect one from the disease? The “herd immunization” is a ridiculous concept and just a ploy to sell as many doses as possible.

    It is proven, scientifically and statistically, in this case that the vaccinations did not work. There are major, major risks involved in all immunizations. Basically, based on one’s individual constitution they are playing russian roulette while taking a vaccine.

  • 6. no vacc wrote:

    Interesting that it’s the vaccinated people getting sick.
    The unvaccinated people seem to be taking care of themselves just fine.

  • 7. ify wrote:

    i think the point #1 was making is that the strain is created and started from someone withOUT the vaccine, and it becomes stronger than/different than the strain which people are vaccinated for, which in turn makes the vaccination useles for people – as it was made to fight a lighter/different strain.
    This happened with chicken pox a few years ago. a stronger strain was going around and even those who were vacccinated suffered from a harsher strain of chicken pox.

  • 8. crown heights wrote:

    Thats not true even the peaple who had 2 MMR are still getting the mumps.

    The docoters are going out of the mind doctors who has been pracsing for 35 years has never saw this before and so is the health department going crazy

  • 10. Concerned wrote:

    no vacc, to ie, Crown Heights: No vaccination is perfect. There will always be people who receive the vaccine and can still get the disease. The mere fact that someone who received the vaccine gets the disease does not mean the vaccine is not effective.

    to ie: Before medications (which include vaccines in this context) are approved the pharmaceutical companies spend literally over $100,000,000 to determine how safe and effective they are. FDA does not let medications go on the market unless and until they are satisfied that they are safe. Also, before you go around making statements like, “The ‘herd immunization’ is a ridiculous concept…” maybe you should take some time to think about the concept. If you are still convinced you should be able to produce some logical arguments.

    Do you have any sources for your statement that, “scientifically and statistically, in this case that the vaccinations did not work.” You should be able to produce numbers that show the number of people vaccinated, when they were vaccinated, how many of them got the mumps, etc. If not, a citation in a recognized medical journal would help. I would like to know your basis for saying that the vaccinations did not work as opposed to the common held theory that not enough people vaccinated their children.

    mumps: A vaccination now may not prevent getting the mumps now, but there is always next year.

    Hashem-s natural protection: Is the Vitamin A in addition to or instead of the vaccination? If this is instead of the vaccination, do you have any evidence that Vitamin A is more effective than the MMR?

  • 11. awacs wrote:

    “i.e wrote:

    ”in other words – for all those who choose not to vaccinate your children… it is through your selfishness that the rest of us have to suffer.

    “Thank you”

    As a parent who spent the entire weekend with his daughter in Downstate, thanks to vaccinations, you’re quite welcome.

  • 12. eliezer wrote:

    3) Analgesia (relief of pain and discomfort) with Tylenol and/or Motrin as needed
    this will cause serious reaction & is wrong info, ask your doctor before using Tylenol and/or Motrin.
    Another item that is not clear is the reason for the outbreak arethe many children who are intentionaly not vacinated. Putting all who are at risk. (those vacinated are 85-90% protected from MMR) I feal all children who do not get vacinated should be thrown out of the Yeshivos.

  • 13. awacs wrote:

    Let’s see. The urgent message:

    1) mumps is going around.

    2) if you get it, there’s nothing we can do about it, anyway. We can’t help you.

    3) Oh, yeah, if you get it, you’ll be sick for a week, then get better.

    4) You ought to be vaccinated, but don’t bother doing it now. We figured it out too late to give you any useful advice.

    5) Oh, by the way, the mumps shots you’ve been talked into taking in the past really aren’t helping. But, we don’t have any better ideas, so we’ll tell you to keep taking them. After all, WE aren’t taking the risks associated with vaccination, YOU (and your child) are.

    6) If your kid is sick, keep him/her home from school, to avoid getting other kids sick. Just in case you were thinking of sending your sick child to school …

    Now, exactly what is so “urgent” about this message?

  • 14. fjf wrote:

    Herb Pharm Echinacea Goldenseal COMPOUND
    Vit C
    ok Vit A too – liquid form? fine
    lots of fluids
    bed rest in a calm healing atmosphere (yes,it is important)
    and i am sure there are others.
    in the meantime get off the garbage food (including the kosher garbage)

  • 16. Milhouse wrote:

    Oh, please. Vitamin A? #1 is exactly right. No immunisation is 100% effective, but had 80% or so of parents done the sensible thing and vaccinated their children, herd immunity would have prevented the virus from taking hold, and would thus also have protected the children of the few mishugoim who didn’t vaccinate. But too many people got swept up by the anti-MMR propaganda and didn’t vaccinate their children, thus breaking the herd immunity, and that allowed the virus to take hold. Now everyone is suffering for their foolishness.

  • 17. to i.e. and to concerned wrote:

    How can there be a “herd immunity” when the CDC admits that the vaccine does nothing for 1 out of 20 people?

    See here for the original report:

    Again, what about the children too young for vaccinations? Doesn’t that break the “herd immunity”? And therefore, shouldn’t the vaccine ACTUALLY prevent one from getting the mumps if vaccinated.

    To concerned: it is for the very reason that these pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their product why they will push it on us through their lobbyists in the state and federal governments, REGARDLESS of its effectiveness or danger. In all due respect, your logic is a little naive.

    Also: there are kids too young for mumps vaccine and it doesn’t work for 1 out of 20 people and some children cannot get it for other health reasons. So, how, in any circumstance, could there ever be a “herd immunity”?

    The herd immunity concept is ridiculous and just a way of the government to bully and manipulate others, like yourself, to do the bullying for them so that all people are forced to get vaccinated.

  • 18. Aspects many are not considering wrote:

    From pediatrician, Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s book, page 235:

    ”Pediatricians defend this [mumps] immunization with the argument that, although mumps is not a serious disease in children, if they do not gain immunity as children, they may contract mumps as adults. In that event there is a possibility that adult males may contract orchitis…. In rare instances this can produce sterility.
    If total sterility as a consequence of orchitis were a significant threat, and if the mumps immunization assured adult males that they would not contract it, I would be among those doctors who urge immunization [for mumps]. I’m not, because their argument makes no sense. Orchitis rarely causes sterility, and when it does, because only one testicle is usually affected. the sperm production capacity of the unaffected testicle could repopulate the world! And that’s not all. No one knows whether the mumps vaccination confers an immunity that lasts into the adult years.[!] Consequently, there is an open question whether, when your child is immunized against mumps…and escapes this disease in childhood, he may suffer more serious consequences when he contracts it as an adult.
    If the mumps immunization is given to protect adult males from orchitis, not to prevent children from getting mumps, it would seem reasonable to administer it only to those males who haven’t developed natural immunity by the time they reach puberty. They would then be more certain of protection as adults.“

    BUT, note what our local doctors said above:

    ”There is no single component vaccine available.“

    That is, there is no way to ONLY immunize pre-adolescents for JUST the mumps, to make sure they are truly protected from this illness, from which there is a miniscule chance that they will get a complication that is not even really a complication, as described above.

    Use your seichel, Yidden. The SYSTEM FOR PREVENTION of this illness is upside down, not the small group of people who choose not to be vaccinated!

    Individuals (not ”herds“) take vaccinations against certain rare tropical diseases in order to visit many third world countries, EVEN THOUGH MANY, MANY NATIVES of those countries ARE NOT VACCINATED! And these shots are helpful to these INDIVIDUALS, nonetheless.

    Stop with your ”herd“ mentality, already! R”L, someone brought a new, stronger strain of mumps with them to Crown Heights, from another country. OR, R“L, people are catching regular mumps either because they didn’t get the second MMR shot (booster), or because the immunization simply doesn’t do a great job beyond the childhood years, or because the shots may have not been up-to-snuff, or because it’s a new strain, or whatever.

    Kids (and adults) get scarlet fever, impetigo, lice, and many other things in this community for which there are no vaccines, R”L. We daven to be spared “suffering or severe illnesses”. But Hashem is in charge, THANK G-D! We can see that the medical establishment doesn’t necessarily know what it’s doing with its protocols for vaccinating for mumps, as explained above.

    [BUT, also, THANK G-d for the abovenamed, dedicated individual Doctors in Crown Heights, who put out the word above, and who DO truly care about our community! We are truly gebentsht to have them among us.]

  • 19. A little perspective, folks??? wrote:


    OH, PUH-LEEZ! This is NOT bubonic plague!!! It’s just the MUMPS, for-cryin’-out-loud!

    Everyone who grew up before about 1980 remembers it as just another one of those common TEMPORARY childhood illnesses that most kids get and recover from, and from which ALMOST NO ONE has any adverse effects!

    I had it when I was about 6 or 7, my husband had it at about that age, and so did everyone else. And we all did fine.

    The fact that folks who had the shots are still getting the mumps, is maybe a message from Hashem. The world is not going to come to an end if Crown Heights deals with a bout of the MUMPS! It’s not like the German Measles, that can harm pregnancies, or H1N1, or the like. Take a deep breath already, folks!

    How about getting hysterical about the Goldstone Report, the Muslims out shooting people up in America, the Copenhagen Treaty that gives up our US Sovereignty, or the ghastly government takeover attempt of our healthcare in America????

    You nuts with the fingers pointed — remember: four of your own fingers are pointed at YOURSELF!

    What a bunch of WUSSES!!! Over the MUMPS!!!!! Go figure!

  • 20. ie wrote:

    The point is if you’re sick, stay home!!! As long as we don’t continue spreading the mumps around in our community and to the world during the kinnus iyh it will pass with out any further damage.

  • 21. Chana wrote:

    (To Eliezer: Thrown out of Yeshivos? what the heck? Maybe you should create a “vaccinated children” Yeshiva. Some people’s children might have allergies to something in the vaccine.)

    To everyone else: I’m not against most vaccines, because i understand that you need to protect your children. I would, however, be wary. You need to know your child to know if they are the right candidate for the vaccine. The MMR vaccine can cause autism. If your child is sensitive, you should definitely skip these types of vaccines. H1N1 vaccine has awful side effects and a few peds that i know didn’t recommend them at all and had a whole list of reasons why.
    Also, i would suggest for general vaccines to have your child vaccinated 1 vaccine at a time instead of a few different vaccines at once. That is what i did and my child who is sensitive is fine.
    NOT every vaccine is for everyone. Please take your child into consideration.

  • 22. i-m glad we got the mumps wrote:

    we had mumps in our house. i’m glad. it was an education.
    my child was out of it, only one day, as a bad case of flu..

    with enuf. vit. c (to bowel tolerance) he was roughhousing the next day. his glands remained swollen for about one month b\c we slacked off of the vit. c after he felt better.

    of course for someone who has a compromised immune system this may not be so simple.


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