Mumps warning to North Coast residents

FOLLOWING an increase in the number of mumps cases notified to the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) North Coast residents have been urged to check that their immunisations are up to date.

Seven cases have been reported to NCAHS since June this year compared with no cases for all of 2004 and two cases for all of 2003.

Immunisation co-ordinator for NCAHS Public Health Unit, Marianne Trent, said although mumps was usually a self-limiting viral illness, it could on rare occasions lead to more serious conditions such as encephalitis and for males, sterility.

"Symptoms include fever, swelling and tenderness of salivary glands, and sometimes in post pubertal males testicular swelling occurs, which can lead to sterility, although it is extremely rare," Ms Trent said.

Mumps is a viral illness spread via the droplets and direct contact with the saliva of an infected person.

Ms Trent said people are infectious from about a week before the onset of the swelling for about nine days or until symptoms have resolved, whichever comes first.

"To prevent infection, people with mumps should stay home from preschool, school, work or other places where there are susceptible individuals for nine days after the onset of swelling," Ms Trent said.

Mumps is preventable through the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccination which is given as part of the childhood immunisation schedule at 12 months and four years of age.

"The two-dose schedule is recommended to give adequate protection. Parents should check their children's immunisation status and ensure that they are up to date," Ms Trent said.

Adults born during or since 1966 may not have received the two-dose schedule of MMR during their childhood and should see their doctor for vaccination.

For further information, please contact Sally Druitt on 6588 2716 or mobile 0418 208 790.

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