Mumps outbreak hits Jewish boys


NEW YORK (JTA) — An outbreak of mumps in New York and New Jersey has affected more than 1,500 people since June, mostly Jewish boys ages 7-18.

A report issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the children with the mumps have high vaccination rates, but that the spread of the disease is likely due to the Orthodox Jewish community’s large families and exposure in boys’ yeshivas, where the boys study together up to 14 hours a day.

In New York, some 40 percent of the cases were among men aged 18-30 in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish communities of Williamsburg, Borough Park and Crown Heights, according to the New York Daily News.

The mumps vaccine is not as effective as the vaccine for measles and rubella, according to the CDC. All three vaccines are bundled in one shot, which is given in two doses.

The outbreak has been traced to an 11-year-old boy who after returning last June from a trip to Britain, where he was exposed to a mumps epidemic, attended a summer camp for Orthodox Jewish boys in New York’s Sullivan County. The boy passed on the disease to campers and staff, who brought it back to their home communities.   

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