West hit hard by mumps outbreak
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.
West Aucklanders account for about 180 of the 450 confirmed mumps cases in the region.