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Three mumps cases reported on Maui

The Maui News

Out of 770 confirmed cases of mumps statewide as of Jan. 4, three cases were on Maui, the state Department of Health reported.

The disease commonly believed to affect only young children has been sickening mostly adults between the ages of 20 and early 40s and adolescents 10 years and older in Hawaii, the department said.

“We strongly recommend getting an outbreak dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, especially for those who live, work or socialize regularly in crowded settings,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist and chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division. “It’s also important to stay home when sick and even consider methods of social distancing, which includes avoiding crowded settings and gatherings, and not hugging or kissing when greeting others.”

There have been 610 mumps cases on Oahu, 108 on Hawaii island and 49 on Kauai.

The Health Department said that the ongoing mumps outbreak is “by far the worst in several decades for Hawaii,” which typically has fewer than 10 cases a year.

Park said that, in previous years, mumps cases were imported, but recently outbreak cases have been acquired locally.

The outbreak began in March as two clusters of cases involving nine individuals on Oahu increased to 500, with confirmed cases in all counties by late October.

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia reported mumps infections from Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to Hawaii, Washington, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and New York each reported more than 300 cases in 2017.

The MMR vaccine prevents most mumps cases and complications caused by the disease. Individuals who have been appropriately vaccinated with a routine two-dose series can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease, but those who are vaccinated and get the mumps will likely have less severe illness than unvaccinated individuals, the Health Department said.

The most common symptoms of mumps include swollen glands in front of the ears or jaw on one or both sides, fever, muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite and fatigue. People with mumps symptoms should contact their health care provider for testing.

Complications from mumps include swelling of the testicles or ovaries, meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and temporary or permanent hearing loss. In rare cases, death may occur.

The MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies. To locate a pharmacy, see health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators.

More information about mumps can be found on the Health Department website at health.hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/mumps.

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