Cases of mumps spreads rapidly


Auck­land’s mumps cases con­tinue to spread rapidly as the city deals with the most se­ri­ous out­break in more than 20 years.

More than 440 cases have been re­ported in the re­gion so far this year, with about 5 per cent of those cases need­ing hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion.

Health author­i­ties say the out­break be­gan in West Auck­land and has now spread to south Auck­land and across the re­gion.

The last sim­i­lar out­break of mumps was in 1994 when there were be­tween 200-300 cases re­ported.

Since then only hand­fuls of cases were re­ported each year, many from over­seas.

Auck­land Re­gional Pub­lic Health Ser­vice med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Josephine Her­man said she had seen mumps-re­lated menin­gi­tis and testes in­flam­ma­tion.

The most com­mon com­pli­ca­tion of the cur­rent out­break had been or­chi­tis, which is in­flam­ma­tion of the tes­ti­cles.

Mumps is an in­fec­tious vi­ral ill­ness which can cause fever, sore­ness, swelling in the face and gen­eral malaise.

Most peo­ple re­cover af­ter a few weeks, but mumps can have se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

The dis­ease can cause in­flam­ma­tion of tis­sue sur­round­ing the brain (menin­gi­tis), in­flamed tes­ti­cles or ovaries, and per­ma­nent deaf­ness. It can also lead to in­fer­til­ity.

The pri­mary sign of mumps is swollen sali­vary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out - the term ‘‘mumps’’ is an old ex­pres­sion for lumps or bumps within the cheeks.

Other symp­toms in­clude headache, mus­cle aches and pain while chew­ing or swal­low­ing.

ARPHS is warn­ing that a large num­ber of 10 to 29 year olds are not only at risk of mumps but also of measles and rubella due to some par­ents re­ject­ing the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vac­cine.

The ser­vice said the ‘‘lost gen­er­a­tion’’ of un­pro­tected young peo­ple was partly due to the MMR con­tro­versy in the late 1990s, some­thing which has been thor­oughly dis­cred­ited.

Ev­ery­one needed to ur­gently check that they had had two doses of the MMR vac­cine and to get im­mu­nised if they needed to, Her­man said.

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