Mumps Outbreak in Lakewood, 159 Confirmed, 70 Suspected Cases


mumps-outbreakZach Patberg of The Asbury Park Press reports: The township remains part of the country’s largest mumps outbreak in four years as 152 Orthodox Jews here seek treatment for the virus, according to health officials.

Overall, the outbreak among Orthodox Jews in New Jersey and New York has now surpassed 1,500 cases and shows no sign of ending soon, officials said Thursday.

In all of Lakewood, a total of 159 confirmed and 70 suspected cases have surfaced since Sept. 11, Leslie Terjesen of the Ocean County Health Department said this week. Fewer than four months ago there were only 15 confirmed cases.

Terjesen said the county Health Department is working with doctors and community leaders to ensure that people with symptoms are isolated for at least five days.

With 1,521 cases, the regional mumps outbreak is the largest in the United Statets since 2006, when nearly 6,600 cases were reported, mostly in six Midwestern states. Usually fewer than 300 cases are reported annually.

Township Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein said the Jewish residents has been vigilant but relatively calm about the spread of the disease.

Close-knit Orthodox communities such as Lakewood face greater risk of an outbreak because of large families and an insular lifestyle. Kathleen Gallagher, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist, said seating arrangements in religious schools may also be contributing, with students facing each other across tables instead of in rows of desks facing forward.

“People are cautiously aware,” Lichtenstein said. “It’s more like, ‘Keep your eyes open to what’s going on,’ but there’s been no massive panic.”

The average age of the Lakewood patients has been 21. Most have been appropriately vaccinated, Terjesen said. Vaccines are only about 90 percent effective, though since their introduction in 1968, mumps case have dropped from 152,000 a year to 265 annually nationwide, health experts said.

In the new outbreak, the first identified case was an 11-year-old boy who got sick in late June. He had just returned from the United Kingdom – where vaccination rates are lower and mumps is more common – before going to the camp in Sullivan County in upstate New York. Other campers got sick, and the outbreak spread to Jewish enclaves in Brooklyn, Rockland and Orange counties in upstate New York, Lakewood and communities in three other New Jersey counties, according to the CDC.

Mumps is spread by coughing and sneezing. Common symptoms are fever, headache and swollen glands. Most cases are in children and teens. It is a mild disease but sometimes can lead to complications such as hearing loss, meningitis and – in rare cases – can lead to sterility.

{APP/ Newscenter}


  1. I just want to let you know that there is a shtikel “Mumps Crisis” in that everyone who has the slightest ache is convinced they have mumps – and the doctors too!

    My son did not feel well, it hurt when he ate, the doctor told him to stay home for 5 days. Guess what, his jaw continued to hurt and we realized he may have TMJ and/or bruxism (involuntarily or unconsciously clenching or grinding the teeth, typically during sleep). So just because he coincidentally did not feel well there was bitul Torah and bitul of tefilah betzibur (and of course the doctor doesn’t do a blood test as this alleged strain of mumps often does not show positive on blood tests, and anyhow by the time the results come back the person is no longer deemed contagious).

    AND the Health Department is calling him to follow up!

    Meanwhile it does seem to be a very mild strain, and I think they say no serious side effects have been reported.

    So let’s all take a chill, please.

  2. First of all this goes to show how ineffective the vaccinations truly are. There is also some evidence that the recent mumps outbreaks are of mutated strains that developed from the vaccines. It is not surprising that many doctors quietly refuse to vaccinate their own children for these childhood diseases.
    For those who have contracted mumps don’t panic. It most cases it goes by without any serious after effects. Limit the fever to 102 F by gently wiping alcohol around the wrists, elbows, knees & ankles as needed, give NON-ACID vitamin C 500 or 1000 (kosher ones please) every 2 to 3 hours (but do not awaken the ill person from sleep for it) & lots of non-acidy drinks. More relief & quickening of recovery can be had by single substance homeopathic remedies. (if the testes or breasts get involved give pulsatilla 30 CH or if painful pilocarpin 30CH) Refer to a good guide book or an experienced homeopath for these.

  3. I heard that there is a kosher product sold in tablets that takes out the inflammation and reduces the pain and irritation from the mumps. Its a frum company who makes it.