Rate of Hawai‘i Mumps Cases on Decline
Although new cases of mumps have recently been recorded on Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu, there are signs the outbreak is slowing.
However, the public should continue to protect themselves with an outbreak dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, according to State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.
“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 MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, go online.
The current outbreak began a year ago in March 2017 with two clusters of cases involving nine individuals on O‘ahu. 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 to 19 years) and adults (born in 1957 or later).
Each week, the Hawai‘i Department of Health investigates new cases of mumps infection, especially on Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu. As of March 1, 2018, the total number of confirmed mumps cases statewide stands at 902, with 131 on Hawai‘i Island, 719 on O‘ahu, 49 on Kaua‘i and three on Maui.
Adopting Healthy Habits
“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, the Hawai‘i Department of Health 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.
Ongoing Outreach and Education
The health department will continue its efforts to educate the public through posters, fact sheets and outbreak MMR vaccination recommendations in multiple languages as well as other resources, posted online.
The website also provides resources for clinicians, and healthcare providers will continue to receive updates through medical advisories.
Healthcare providers should report any suspected cases of mumps to Hawai‘i Department of Health by calling the disease reporting line at (808) 586-4586.
Additional information about mumps can be found on the DOH website.