Auckland Regional Public Health Service has released a statement confirming 130 cases of mumps in Auckland so far during 2017.
About 70% of cases have occurred in children and teenagers aged 10–19 years. A high number of these were caused by children not being fully immunised against the disease.
Here are our top tips about what you need to know about mumps:
1. Mumps is preventable
All children in New Zealand should receive immunisations for mumps as part of the National Immunisation Schedule at 15 months and 4 years of age as part of the MMR vaccine. Check with your GP or practice nurse to see if your child has received both immunisations. If they haven’t, get them immunised as soon as possible. Immunisation is free. Vaccination also decreases the risks of an infected person passing mumps on.
2. Mumps is a virus
Mumps is a virus so antibiotics won’t help. Once someone has been diagnosed with mumps, treatment is aimed at relieving their symptoms until they recover. The most common symptom is painful swelling in one or both salivary glands just under the ears and behind the jaw. The swelling develops over two or three days before getting better.
Other common symptoms include fever, sore throat, loss of appetite and headache. The mumps virus is passed from person to person via infected saliva droplets in a sneeze or a cough.
3. Mumps can cause serious complications
Most people with mumps develop only mild symptoms, but sometimes there can be serious complications. Mumps can cause swollen testicles, leading to infertility in males. Women in their first 3 months of pregnancy who develop mumps are at increased risk of a miscarriage. Mumps can also cause meningitis,ie, inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissue.
4. You can protect yourself and others
Getting immunised helps to prevent you and your whānau from catching mumps, and it also helps to protect others who are too young to be immunised or those who may not have immunity.
You are considered immune if you:
- were born before 1981
- have been diagnosed previously with mumps
- received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine
- have had immunity to mumps confirmed by a blood test.
If your child has mumps, they should be kept home from school or early childhood services for 5 days after swelling develops. This will help prevent the spread of mumps in your community. If your child is still unwell after 5 days they should remain at home until they are well.
5. What should we do in an outbreak at school?
In an outbreak, people who have not been immunised and have not previously had mumps are at risk of infection.These people need to stay away from schools or early childhood centres for 26 days after the appearance of swollen glands in the last person to be infected, to avoid catching the disease. Immunisation may be offered to those who haven't been infected at this stage, as it can prevent the disease or reduce symptoms if the person does catch it.