Mumps outbreak; 82 of 148 cases in west Auckland
West Aucklanders account for more than half of the mumps cases confirmed this year, with 40 cases confirmed after notifications from 12 schools - but the regional health service won't name them.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) clinical director Dr Julia Peters confirmed there was a mumps outbreak with 148 cases recorded in Auckland as of July 7.
Approximately 82 confirmed cases of the viral illness were from west Auckland, she said.
More than half of the west cases were males.
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Peters said close to half of the cases in west Auckland had been notified by schools - 40 in total. But the health body would not name the schools "unless it's necessary to protect public health".
"Mumps is a notifiable disease, all cases and contacts have been followed up and given public health advice."
12 west schools had reported cases of mumps, she said.
The Western Leader 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 last year.
Peters said the biggest concern were cases recorded in secondary schools because "immunity in that age group was well before the national average".
She said 58 of the people who became ill in west Auckland were not fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine.
Peters said 44 of those who had fallen ill were Pacific Islanders. Mumps cases among Samoans numbered 24, with 21 Maori people also contracting the viral illness.
The suburb of Massey recorded the highest numbers out west with 31 mumps cases, Henderson had 17 and Ranui 11.
The rest of the west cases were isolated in other suburbs.
Three west Aucklanders had been hospitalised.
The youngest west Auckland mumps sufferer was aged under one year, the oldest person diagnosed was aged 51.
ARPHS said half of the west Auckland cases were in the 10-to-19 age group.
"Low MMR vaccination rates amongst those aged 10-to-29 years in west Auckland are one of the main drivers for the high numbers of mumps cases in west Auckland," Peters said.
"Many people with mumps were significantly unwell and some developed severe complications."
Males hospitalised from the outbreak in Auckland had pain and swelling in their testicles, known as orchitis, which in rare cases may led to infertility.
One person had developed meningitis, and some women had experienced ovarian inflammation.
Peters said the key was immunisation - two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which was free of charge.
Mumps cases rose significantly this year - 51 cases from January to April which was two-to-three times above the norm from the past three years.
Last year, there were 35 mumps cases notified but only 13 confirmed.
The last mumps outbreak in Auckland was in 2007 where there were 30 cases.
Peters urged people to ask their doctor if their vaccinations were up to date, or seek medical help if they suspected mumps.
Mumps is spread via saliva or mucus when coughing, sneezing, or talking. Infected droplets can transfer up to one metre. It's easily transmitted through toys, keyboards and door handles.
Early symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. The salivary glands on one or both sides of the face, cheeks or jaw may become swollen and sore after two days.
If people suspected mumps, they are asked to call their doctor, or Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116.
For questions about vaccination contact the Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800 Immune or visit www.immune.org.nz
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is usually given in two doses, one at 15 months and one at four years old.