‘Un­re­lent­ing mumps out­break’

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SHANI WIL­LIAMS

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.

‘‘The vac­ci­na­tion

Pe­ters said.

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,’’

BE­VAN READ/FAIR­FAX NZ

The num­ber of mumps cases in Auck­land this year has spiked.

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