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Arkansas studying mumps vaccine effectiveness

The Arkansas Department of Health is studying whether the mumps vaccine is less effective against the type of mumps contracted by hundreds of people during the past three months of an outbreak first announced in August. (MGN photo)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The Arkansas Department of Health is studying whether the mumps vaccine is less effective against the type of mumps contracted by hundreds of people during the past three months of an outbreak first announced in August.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2gbfv7R ) reports that the department has counted nearly 1,600 confirmed or suspected cases of mumps as of Nov. 22. Many of the cases have been in the northwestern part of the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two doses of the mumps vaccine protect about 88 percent of people exposed to the virus. Arkansas epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says the type of mumps seen in Arkansas and other recent outbreaks in the country is genetically distinct from the type used to make the vaccine. He says the vaccine is still helpful.

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