Thursday June 2, 2005
Generation before MMR is falling ill
I agree with Ben Goldacre about MMR (Bad science, May 26) but I am not sure that the mumps outbreak is due to low uptake of the vaccine.
The young people who are catching mumps at the moment are in their late teens and early twenties, too old to have been offered MMR. My 18-year-old daughter had separate injections. We were not offered MMR but could have an injection for mumps if wanted. I don’t think many parents had it done; there has been an outbreak of mumps at her college.
Â· Surely, since the immunity offered by vaccination does not exceed a decade, we are seeing a new generation of adults who have been denied the chance to catch and defeat mumps safely as children, and so achieve full, lifelong immunity. Should any of them suffer orchitis, they might question whether their mumps shots were really such a good idea.
Stoke Newington, London
Â· The citation from Ben Goldacre’s column would have been much easier to find if it had included the name of the first author (Savage, E) and the title (Mumps outbreaks across England and Wales in 2004: observational study), though I appreciate that space constraints may make it impossible to give the title. Adding a link to the abstract on PubMed would give him extra brownie points.
Blaxter Nematode Genomics Group, University of Edinburgh