National measles, mumps outbreak causes concern

By: Brittany Paris

A measles and mumps outbreak in a few states is causing concern. What should Nebraskans know?

The diseases haven’t made their way to the state just yet, but it’s something health officials are keeping an eye on.

The CDC has reported more than 300 cases of mumps in Ohio and Delaware, more than 70 in Illinois.

They’ve also reported 129 measles cases in a few states, most of those have been in California. But they say that number is the highest it’s been in 18 years.

We spoke with Tim Timmons, Communicable Disease Program Supervisor at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, on Thursday. He says a case of mumps or two wouldn’t be uncommon, but even one person infected with measles would be a huge concern.

Timmons says we do still see vaccine-preventable diseases, like Pertussis, or Whooping Cough. But as long as our vaccine numbers are high, the state shouldn’t see an outbreak.

“We are seeing things like Pertussis, but because our rates are so high, we’re not seeing an outbreak,” Timmons said.

He says your best defense against these diseases is a vaccine. Most of us got the mumps, measles, rubella shot before we started school. And in Lancaster County, the number of students vaccinated is well above 90 percent.