A Doctor Writes: Mumps Risks and Recommendations


mumps-outbreakDear Matzav.com Editor,

This is an open letter to the tri-state community. With trepidation and concern, I write to the hanhala of Beth Medrash Govoah and attempt to clarify issues regarding the Mumps outbreak.

It is clear that over 175 cases have been reported to the health department and that of these 16% resulted in Mumps orchitis which is a significant risk for long term male infertility. In addition, only 25% of cases have been reported. What’s more, there appears to be a controversy in the community regarding the proper course in obtaining vaccinations going to school unvaccinated, and the effectiveness of two immunizations. Over 1000 cases have been reported in the tri-state area.

I write as the data are perfectly clear and should be made available to members of the community.

There is at least a 12% chance that prior mumps vaccine will wear off and leave a person unprotected to mumps infection even after two immunizations, i.e., a primary shot and a booster. A single shot leaves the risk of mumps is at least 36%.

Mumps,Measels and Rubella vaccines have repeatedly been demonstrated as safe and the risks of any side effects are far outweighed by the risk of mumps orchitis and rubella infection in pregnancy. In my own clinical experience treating previously vaccinated kallahs, I see 3 to 4 % without immunity who are at risk for infection, Has V’ Shalom, and who need booster injections. I am seeing this both for mumps and for measles and also am now checking for Chicken pox where I also find lack of immunization. These data are reiterated below and demonstrate the need to screen children who might be at risk for exposure and are critical proof that vaccination can make a difference in child and infant health.

There are NO DATA to support claims that vaccinations are unsafe and should be avoided. Quite to the contrary, they SAFELY provide protection that is critical to school age children

Finally, the Bais Din of Rabbis Fuerst, Reisman, and Sorcher in response to a question on keeping children out of school ifthey were not immunized answered “that children CAN be kept out of school if they are not immunized.”

One last point, the fact the at least 12% of twice immunized men will NOT HAVE IMMUNITY means they need blood testing to document their protection against mumps. This is a reasonably inexpensive test and can be done with a single blood draw and results return in a week. PLEASE EMPHASIZE ITS IMPORTANCE.

Please address with your Kehillahs the following information and address these concerns. You can save lives, prevent infection and infertility and stop the spread of viral infection.

Sincerely yours,

Douglas S. Rabin, MD


  1. I hope not to sound too dumb, but what is the “trepidation and concern” directed at the Hanahalah of BMG? Is it that the phone calls and postings seen all around were not “shtark” enough?

  2. My child’s pediatrician said there have been 160 documented cases in Monsey already, many of whom were fully immunized. And some have gone on to get the Mumps…so no proof or guarantee there either.

    Controversial as well if there are risks to vaccines.

  3. The point here is that, after the child is vaccinaed, it is necessary to perform laboratory blood work ( a simple drawing up of a tube of blood) to make sure he/she has the anitbodies. If not, they need to be re-vaccinated. The dangers from this disease as reported above by the doctor, include male infertility. Why would anyone take a chance chas ve shalom with their children, or possibly exposing others to this horrific possibility?

  4. I woul dlike to see the data on the Monsey cases. these kids may no longer have been immmune as at least 12% of children with two immunizations lose their immunity. It could be due to improper storage of vaccine, bad lot, or simply this is the percentage (12% or more) tha lose immunity. One needs to check their children, especially hteir boys for mumps immunity and to revaccinate if necessary.

  5. I am a pediatrician and did blood testing on boys with active mumps who were vaccinated with two doses of the MMR. Most of the results indicated that the boys were immune to mumps. Hard to explain.

  6. not so hard; an IgG response to infection can occur but the general titer drops out in anywhere from 3 to 12% depending on age. I would like to see the titer before they got the mumps. Have you offered to study any community members especially those 16 to 20?