Source: Radio New Zealand, 9 February 2017
Health officials fear there could be an outbreak of mumps
after 20 cases were reported in just five months - up to triple the
Thirteen cases were reported in Auckland, while Rotorua and
Taupo each had three cases. Cases were also reported in Wellington
(two), Canterbury (one) and the West Coast (one).
The Ministry of Health said it appeared most of the cases had
been acquired overseas, and had affected people between the ages of
two and 31.
There was an increased risk of further outbreaks so people
should check they were immunised, the ministry said.
Deputy director of public health Harriett Carr said the rise in
mumps cases usually stemmed from people not being immunised.
"With these 20 cases among children and young adults, we think
most have come from Fiji where there is a mumps outbreak at the
moment," she said.
"There's always a chance people will pick up an illness and
bring it back here when they're travelling, so the best thing we
can do is make sure we have good immunisation rates and that people
are aware of the symptoms of these illnesses."
Symptoms of the viral illness include sore and swollen areas
under the jaw, usually accompanied or preceded by fever, muscle
soreness, poor appetite, fatigue.
Many people were unaware that mumps could be a serious illness,
Dr Carr said.
"About one in 10 people get meningitis and there are other,
rarer serious consequences."
The start of the school year heightened the possibility of
further cases, she said.
"People should keep their children home if they think they might
have mumps and contact their GP and Healthline."