After infecting the University of Navarra (140 affected in February 2018) and Valencia (eight affected in October last year), the mumps have arrived in Madrid to another campus, that of the Pontifical University of Comillas, and already affect 33 people. "This happens every year, the community is used to dealing with these outbreaks," say sources of the institution. In 2012 there were more than 200 in Euskadi, and 255 in Navarra, coinciding with the javierada.
It is not that the virus has a predilection for university students. It happens by a combination of factors, and none are anti-vaccines. On the one hand, of the three components of the viral triple vaccine - measles, rubella and mumps, which is administered at 12 months with a boost at 4 years - that of parotitis is the one that has less effectiveness, as explained by Amos Garcia Rojas, president of the Spanish Association of Vacunology. "If in the others it is over 95%, it is between 85% and 90%," he says. But, in addition, there is the circumstance that there are lots of mumps vaccine -The Community of Madrid refers to those manufactured between 1985 and 1988 and between 1995 and 1998-, with less efficiency. The reason is simple: the virus strains used in those years produced in practice a lower immune response than expected by the trials.
The result is that a poorly protected group - that of the young people who received the least potent vaccines - cohabits closely when 20 years have passed since they were vaccinated, so that the one in which "the vaccine had not been lit" can infect those around. "Susceptibles are accumulating" until the outbreak arises, García Rojas explains. Of course, "they will have a milder illness," he says. "In the Canary Islands, when we realized that there was a vaccine with less efficacy, we revaccinated the children," says the doctor. In 2012, Catalonia called 17,000 people to receive immunization after an outbreak.
Mumps is a disease that inflames the salivary glands. It does not have a specific treatment, and it is usually mild. Sometimes it can also inflame the scrotum. The one who passes it is immunized. So far this year, they have been notified 1,952 cases at the Carlos III Health Institute. Last year on the same dates there were 1,386. The difference in the effectiveness of vaccination is seen in that in the same period 22 cases of measles and 7 of rubella have been reported. "We must bear in mind that no vaccination is 100% effective", insists García Rojas.
Sources of the Community of Madrid affirm that the situation is calm. "We are following the cases and warning those who have symptoms and their contacts that they are going to check that they have put the two doses of the vaccine and, if not, that they put it in. There is no alert to the general population." A representative of the university agrees. "We have not closed anything and classes are normal."
"We are going to have to live with small outbreaks", summarizes García Rojas.