Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is investigating five new cases of mumps every day, as the number of notifications of the disease continues to rise.
The latest figures show 148 cases, up from 138 cases on Monday 3 July. This is compared with 13 cases for 2016 (see note to editor below).
ARPHS Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters is urging parents to check with their doctor to ensure their families’ measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations are up to date. The vaccination is free.
“The majority of cases are aged 10 to 29 years as this age group has had lower than average immunisation rates,“ says Dr Peters. Around 80 percent of the current cases were not fully vaccinated.
Out of 126 locally acquired cases, 78 of these are Pacific Island people and 26 are Māori. The balance is Pakeha or other ethnicities.
“Most recover from this disease. Eight people have been hospitalised, however, mostly males for pain and swelling in their testicles. Some females have experienced ovarian inflammation and another person developed meningitis.
Non immune pregnant women who catch the disease risk miscarriage in the first three months. In rare cases mumps can cause permanent hearing loss.
Mumps can spread quickly among those who are not immune, particularly in schools. Thirty schools around Auckland have seen 67 cases and non immunised students have also had to be kept at home for weeks.
“If parents do not organise vaccination quickly, their child may be excluded from school,” says Dr Peters.
Note to editor – please note the number of mumps cases in 2016 was 13, not 35 cases as previously released. There were 35 notifications in 2016.
If you suspect mumps call your doctor or Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116.
For questions about vaccination call the Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800 Immune or visit www.immune.org.nz.