Although new cases of mumps have recently been recorded on Oahu and Hawai`i Island, there are signs the outbreak is slowing, according to the Hawai`i Department of Health.
Despite the slow down, Dr Sarah Park, the State’s epidemiologist, says the public should continue to protect themselves with an outbreak dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.
“Prevention is the key,” Dr. Park said. “The best way to avoid the mumps is to get vaccinated. We urge the public to remain vigilant and protect themselves and their family members by getting the vaccine.”
The current outbreak of mumps began a year ago in March 2017 with two clusters of cases involving nine individuals on Oahu. The number of cases climbed steadily and reached 500 by late October with confirmed cases in all counties, prompting the health department to recommend an outbreak dose of the MMR vaccine for adolescents (aged 10-19 years) and adults (born in 1957 or later).
DOH says that each week the department investigates new cases of mumps infection, especially on Oahu and Hawai`i Island.
As of March 1, 2018, the total number of confirmed mumps cases statewide stands at 902, with 719 on Oahu, 131 on Hawaii Island, 49 on Kauai and three on Maui.
“First and foremost, we recommend everyone 10 to 60 years of age receive a dose of the MMR vaccine, which prevents many cases of mumps,” Dr. Park said, noting that those who live, work, or socialize in crowded or close contact conditions for prolonged periods are most at risk for the infection if they are exposed to the virus.
Persons with mumps and those who are potentially infectious should limit contact with others to prevent spreading the disease. In addition to staying home when sick, DOH recommends washing your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid sharing food or drinks, and disinfecting surfaces to avoid disease transmission. Along with getting vaccinated, these healthy habits can help protect people from getting the disease.
Additional information about mumps can be found here.