Edward Liu, who is an infectious disease specialist at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune said that hospital has seen a number of the 22 patients with mumps over the past two weeks. He noted a bulk of them were young adult age, and had been in close contact, multiple times, with each other over the past several weeks.
He said patients who were suspected of mumps were triaged to protect other patients and staff.
The probable outbreak of mumps has increased to 22 cases - with two cases reported in Point Pleasant - and the majority of those affected are tied to D'Jais bar in Belmar, county health officials said Thursday.
Liu said part of the disease spread may be waning immunity to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "two doses of mumps vaccine are 88% effective at preventing the disease; one dose is 78% effective."
The mumps component of that vaccine is "the weakest of the three," according to Paul Offit, who is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Offit noted in a 2009 outbreak, the Orthodox Jewish communities in Lakewood and Brooklyn were impacted. The spread of illness during that outbreak was attributed to "crowding of large groups in small space, and that is probably the truth here [in this outbreak] as well."
During the 2009 outbreak, health officials offered a booster dose of the vaccine.
But Liu said at this point for this outbreak, health officials are, "recommending people monitor their own symptoms, and call their doctor and discuss it if they feel they are sick. The thing is, we don't want lot of sick people sitting in the waiting area, for long periods of time exposing other patients."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common symptoms of mumps include: fever, headaches, tiredness, loss of appetite, swollen glands, and muscle aches.
typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range
from 12-25 days after infection," according to the CDC's website.