West hit hard by mumps out­break

Western Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - DANIELLE CLENT AND SHABNAM DASTGHEIB

West Auck­lan­ders ac­count for about 40 per cent of con­firmed mumps cases in Auck­land.

The Auck­land region had more than 450 mumps case, with about 180 of those in west Auck­land, ac­cord­ing to the Auck­land Re­gional Public Health Ser­vice’s (ARPHS) lat­est update.

Health au­thor­i­ties said the out­break be­gan in west Auck­land and had spread across the region.

ARPHS clin­i­cal di­rec­tor Ju­lia Peters said Pa­cific Is­lan­ders and those aged be­tween 10-24 were the most af­fected by the cur­rent out­break. The out­break had also af­fected a number of west Auck­land schools.

The West­ern Leader had ear­lier found mumps cases had been no­ti­fied by Massey High School in March, Don Buck Pri­mary School in June, Lin­coln Heights School in July and Prospect School in Glen Eden in Septem­ber 2017.

‘‘One in­di­vid­ual with mumps at a sec­ondary school could cause an out­break be­cause im­mu­nity in the 10-19 age group is well be­low where it needs to be,’’ Peters said.

The out­break was af­fect­ing stu­dents by forc­ing them to catch up on their learn­ing after fall­ing ill.

She also said chil­dren and teenagers may be re­moved from their school or ter­tiary in­sti­tute if they had not been vac­ci­nated with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vac­cine.

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

Most peo­ple re­cov­ered after a few weeks, but mumps could have se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

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

Peters said peo­ple needed to en­sure they have had two doses of the MMR vac­cine.

‘‘The MMR vac­cine is avail­able from you doc­tor and is free. Im­mu­ni­sa­tion is par­tic­u­larly important for Pa­cific com­mu­ni­ties and all those in the 10-24 age bracket as these groups have been most af­fected by the cur­rent out­break,’’ she said.

A re­port from Waitem­ata¯ DHB’s Septem­ber board meet­ing said a Cook Is­land public health physi­cian was tak­ing the lead for the mumps port­fo­lio.

123RF

West Auck­lan­ders ac­count for about 180 of the 450 con­firmed mumps cases in the region.

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