Auckland is currently experiencing an outbreak of the mumps virus – the worst seen in 23 years.
With over 1000 people contracting the disease in 2017, health officials are calling on the government to act.
Those at greatest risk are young children who are un-immunised and people age 12-30 who may have missed one or more vaccines when younger.
What is Mumps?
Mumps is an acute viral illness which can affect both children and adults. If you or your child has mumps, the symptoms are: pain in the jaw, fever, headache, swelling of the glands around the face. Mumps is highly contagious and is spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing, or through contact with infected saliva. If you’ve caught mumps, it usually takes 12–25 days before you get sick. You’ll be infectious from 1 week before swelling appears until 5 days after.
Am I safe?
If you received two MMR vaccine injections, or if you’re over age 49 and had mumps as a child then you should be protected. A small number of people who have been vaccinated (<15%) can still catch mumps but they are unlikely to become seriously ill. If you are not sure if you’ve been vaccinated against mumps, the good news is that we can check with a simple blood test.
Are my children at risk?
Make sure your children have had their two MMR shots. If you can’t remember, check in your child’s Plunket WellChild book. Alternatively the National Immunisation Register records all vaccines given since 2005 which we can check for you. If your child is not vaccinated, in light of this outbreak we are recommending the first vaccine be given any time from their first birthday and the second vaccine from 4 weeks after this.
The Autism myth
Many large studies have now proven that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. Catching mumps can lead to serious illness, including meningitis, encephalitis, infertility and even death. Read more on the topic of vaccine risks vs benefits here.
Dr Marcus Bishop says;
“If you’re not sure if you or your family members are protected against mumps, please give us a call. One of our nurses can arrange for a blood test if we can’t be confident you have received two MMR vaccines. These things are never a problem until they really are a problem, so in the face of this current outbreak make sure you are well informed and act appropriately.”
Concerns or queries? Contact us.