Mumps Spreads To New Communities


A mumps outbreak in the Orthodox community, which began last summer, has spread beyond Williamsburg and Borough Park to include scattered incidents in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Far Rockaway, Queens, city Health Department officials say.

Far Rockaway pediatrician Dr. Hylton Lightman told The Jewish Week that he has seen about 20 mumps patients, most of them men between 17 and 23, as well as four or five girls and two mothers.

Among his patients is a staff member at the Bnot Shulamith Elementary School in Woodmere, L.I.

Of particular concern to some doctors is that the age range of patients — who remain 80 percent male — now includes an older population of young adults, many of whom misplaced their immunization records after graduating high school, according to Dr. Jane Zucker, assistant commissioner for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In the affected communities, 70 percent of children under 18 have received their two immunization dosages, but for young adults statistics remain unclear.

“People who are not vaccinated have a higher rate of complications,” Zucker said. “We want people who don’t know their status to go and get vaccinated.”

This week, the Department of Health will host free vaccination clinics in Borough Park and Williamsburg with Jewish organizations.

The total of New York City cases has risen to 909 as of Feb. 8. Outside the city, the state now accounts for a total of 928 cases, with 317 occurring in Rockland County and 611 in Orange County as of Feb. 10, according to State Department of Health Spokesman Tom Allocco.

The most common symptoms of the mumps are fever, muscle aches and parotitis, the signature inflammation of the salivary glands below the ear. Rarer side effects can include meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and pancreatitis, which can cause abdominal pain and vomiting.

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