The Northland District Health Board is appealing to parents to ensure their family is up-to-date with immunisations after eight confirmed cases of mumps in school-aged children from the Dargaville community.
These confirmed cases now bring the number of notifications for the Northland Region to 24 this year — compared with six in 2016 and three in 2015.
“Vaccination is the best protection against mumps. If you or your children have not had the recommended two Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations, it is strongly recommended that you get these up to date,” says medical officer of health, Dr Virginia McLaughlin.
“Contact your doctor or practice nurse if you are unsure whether you or your family has been vaccinated, and book in vaccination if they haven’t.”
Mumps can cause swelling in the glands around the face and can lead to meningitis in about one in 10 people.
It is spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing, or through contact with infected saliva.
“If you think you have mumps, please exclude from school or work and phone ahead to your GP so that you are not sitting in the waiting room. Wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough. You can also contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours,” said Dr McLaughlin.
She also confirmed an increase in notified cases of whooping cough in Northland, with 48 notifications this year.
Whooping cough can be a very serious illness for babies and children, especially under 1 year of age.
“This gives us an opportunity to check immunisation status for both whooping cough and mumps. By doing this as individuals we can protect those most at risk in our community. Don’t delay — check your immunisation status today!”
Mumps Symptoms: pain in the jaw, fever, headache, swelling of the glands around the face. If you have caught mumps, it usually takes between 12 and 25 days before you get sick. You’ll be infectious from one week before the swelling appears until five days after.
For questions about vaccination call the Immunisation Advisory Centre on 0800 Immune.