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Health alert after mumps case confirmed

21 Oct 2019 8:00 AM | BMDA Admin (Administrator)

Health alert after mumps case confirmed

Fiona McWhirter

  • Symptoms of mumps include swelling of salivary glands (Photograph supplied)

    Symptoms of mumps include swelling of salivary glands (Photograph supplied)

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Health officials are investigating at least one case of mumps.

The Ministry of Health revealed on Monday that one case was confirmed with a second case suspected.

Investigations were being carried out by the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

The ministry explained that mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by a virus.

It said: “Mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of salivary glands — located in the area between the neck and jaw, below the ears — on one or both sides.

“Symptoms may appear from 12 to 25 days after you are infected.”

Although most people with mumps make a full recovery, some people, especially adults, can suffer complications.

These can include painful swelling of the testicles in males or of the ovaries or breast tissue in females, inflammation in the pancreas, swelling in the brain and spinal cord, and deafness.

The ministry said that anyone who is not protected — either through a previous mumps infection or via vaccination — could catch it.

It said: “Mumps is spread easily by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks.

“Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others.

“In addition, the virus may spread when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and someone else touches the same surface then touches their mouth or nose.

“Precautions must be taken to prevent spread of the illness to others.

“Close contacts of the person and physicians are being contacted and advised.”

The public was asked to be alert to symptoms of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of salivary glands. Symptoms can occur in children and adults.

Anyone displaying symptoms should stay away from work and keep their children out of school.

The ministry added: “Persons with mumps must be isolated to prevent spread. Call your doctor or the emergency room prior to seeking medical attention. This is to reduce the possibility of spread to others while waiting to be seen by the doctor.

“Check your child’s and your own immunisation record to see if you have had the mumps or MMR — Measles, Mumps and Rubella — vaccine.

“The MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps.

“The first dose of the MMR vaccine is routinely given when children are 15 months old, and a second dose is given when they are four years old. Teenagers and adults should have received two doses of MMR.”

Anyone who has not been vaccinated should contact their doctor, or visit the school or child health clinics at the Hamilton Health Centre in Victoria Street to get immunised.

The public should wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean surfaces that are often touched to help prevent the spread of the disease.

For more information, contact the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit on 278-6503.

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