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It attacks the salivary glands, makes your neck swell up and your body feel awful, but the Mumps have been extremely rare in the U.S.-- until now. Every year, states like Iowa only see about 6 cases every year, but this year, so far at least 600 people across the Midwest have been diagnosed. The outbreak hasn't spread to Colorado, but doctors say that could change. According to Dr. Richard Kouri of Memorial Urgent Care, this epidemic is relatively small compared to recent outbreaks of Influenza, but he says the Mumps can be very serious in adults.
"It can lead to sterility in testicles and ovaries," said Kouri. "It can also cause meningitis."
Dr. Kouri says if the outbreak spreads, the Center for Disease Control may consider recommending another vaccine booster based on it's theory that the vaccines may not have life-long immunity. Kouri says the Mumps are extremely contagious, but he says avoiding catching them is basic: Good hand washing, avoiding places where sick people gather, and getting vaccinated. At present, doctors require Mumps vaccinations be given to infants between 1 year and 15 months old, as well as a booster right before starting school. The CDC is considering recommending another booster during adolescence