‘Unrelenting mumps outbreak’
An ‘‘unrelenting mumps outbreak’’ in Auckland has triggered a health warning from authorities urging parents to ensure their children are immunised.
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said on Monday it was concerned not enough Aucklanders were immunised in the face of the outbreak.
ARPHS clinical director Julia Peters said this year it had recorded 130 mumps cases in Auckland – compared to 35 last year.
‘‘Unfortunately 80 per cent of the current cases were not fully vaccinated - it is disappointing because mumps is a preventable and serious disease,’’ Peters said.
On Friday Western Springs College sent a letter to parents warning them a student had been diagnosed with mumps.
It was recommended that children not immunised against the infectious disease stay at home for more than two weeks.
The primary sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out.
Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, weakness and fatigue, and pain while chewing or swallowing.
Most people recover from the disease but in the last six months a number of Aucklanders had suffered severe complications caused by mumps, Peters said.
‘‘Some adolescent males have been hospitalised for pain and swelling in their testicles, which in rare cases can result in infertility.
‘‘Some females have experienced ovarian inflammation and another person developed meningitis,’’ Peters said.
Nearly 70 per cent of cases occurred at ages 10 to 19 years.
Mumps could spread quickly among those who were not immunised, particularly in schools, she said.
‘‘An individual with mumps at a secondary school could cause an outbreak, because immunity in that age group is well below the national average.’’
Peters urged parents to check with their doctor to ensure their families’ measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations were up to date.
Mumps is spread through coughing and sneezing and through direct contact with infected saliva, such as touching a dirty tissue or computer keyboard. is free,’’
The number of mumps cases in Auckland this year has spiked.