The mumps outbreak in northwest Arkansas continues to grow and these numbers could rise significantly in coming weeks, according to a state epidemiologist, local media reports.


The number of suspected and lab confirmed cases of mumps stands at 162 in the Springdale area of the state and according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), numbers could double in coming weeks. As of today, the outbreak affects schools in the Huntsville, Rogers, and Springdale School Districts.

ADH epidemiologist, Dirk Haselow said at presentation about mumps at Rogers Heritage High School Wednesday that  the public could expect the number of positive cases to more than double in the coming weeks. He even goes on to say the region could see individuals contracting the virus for at least another six months.

Cases reported in vaccinated children has concerned some parents, according to the report.

Two doses of the MMR (Mumps, Measles, and Rubella) vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing mumps, the least effective component of the vaccine.

Since the U.S. mumps vaccine program started in 1967, there has been a more than 99 percent decrease in the nation’s reported mumps cases. “Mumps is no longer common in the United States, but sporadic outbreaks still occur, even in highly vaccinated populations,” Steven A. Rubin, Ph.D., chief of the Laboratory of Method Development at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research says. “Mumps was historically a disease of childhood, but outbreaks now typically involve young adults, particularly in high density, close contact environments such as on college and university campuses.”

LISTEN: Vaccines: An interview with Dr. Paul Offit

2016 has seen the most mumps cases in the US since 2010. Through Aug. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 1,786 cases.