Mumps case confirmed at a Central Hawke's Bay primary school
Parents of Waipukurau Primary School students are being urged to check their children's immunisation status after a case of mumps was confirmed at the Central Hawke's Bay school.
Mumps is a highly infectious viral disease, spread by breathing, sneezing and coughing, and can affect babies, children or adults.
Hawke's Bay District Health Board has urged parents to call their doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116) if they suspect their children might be developing a fever, or swelling of glands around the cheeks or jaw.
"People with mumps may suffer swelling of testicles or ovaries, hearing loss, breathing difficulties and, rarely, brain inflammation," medical officer of health Rachel Eyre said.
A letter has gone to staff and parents at the school advising them that if they aren't immune, there is a risk of passing the infection on to others even before developing symptoms.
If you were born after 1981 and have never had mumps or mumps/MMR immunisation (two documented doses is required to prove immunity), you need to see your family doctor.
"The sooner the free immunisation is given, the more likely it is to protect you," Dr Eyre said.
Ministry of Health policy for non-immune adults and children to stay away from school, work or community gatherings until 26 days after last exposure which is October 2.
"We know this may create difficulties for some families, but our priority must be to prevent further spread of the virus," Dr Eyre said.
"We have been advised that the school will work with affected families to ensure pupils who need to stay home are supported in their learning.
"Even if you get immunised immediately, you may still develop mumps because immunisation may be too late to prevent the disease.
"However, it will protect against future infection and reduce the risk of complications. Fortunately in Hawke's Bay we have high rates of immunisation coverage, which should help prevent the spread of the disease in our region."