The Auckland Regional Public Health Service is managing a mumps outbreak in Auckland. More than 35 cases have been confirmed so far and more than half of these are occurring in children and teens aged 10-19 years.
“I urge parents to check with their doctors to ensure their families’ measles mumps and rubella vaccinations are up to date. I recommend this is done before the school holidays. Vaccination is free and it will protect your child and the community,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale.
Mumps can spread quickly among those who are not immune, particularly in schools. A single child with mumps at secondary school could cause an outbreak, because immunity in that age group is well below the national average.
“If parents do not organise vaccination quickly, their children’s learning could be disrupted. We are in the midst of an outbreak and already large numbers of students are scrambling to catch up on school work after falling ill with mumps for several weeks,” says Dr Hale.
Most people recover from mumps, but it can have serious complications. Although rare, infertility can occur. The disease can also cause inflammation of tissue surrounding the brain (meningitis), inflamed testicles or ovaries and deafness.
“The best way to avoid getting an infectious disease like mumps is to ensure you are fully immunised with the MMR vaccine,” says Dr Hale.