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A small cluster of mumps cases in Oamaru appears to be contained.
Public Health South said there had been seven confirmed cases of mumps in Oamaru. It was thought these were linked to the mumps outbreak in Auckland and the Pacific Islands, and not linked directly to the cases reported in Dunedin last month.
“The good news is that the outbreak in Oamaru does not appear to have spread far through the community and appears to be contained at this time,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Naomi Gough said.
“As is often the case with mumps, the symptoms were mild and many patients may not feel unwell enough to see their doctor.
The cluster was identified and traced retrospectively after one patient sought medical attention.”
As with the Dunedin outbreak last month, Public Health South has moved to a Manage It approach where the priority is on encouraging vaccination of people at risk prior to them becoming exposed.
“The MMR vaccine is still the best defence against mumps and we are encouraging vaccination of at-risk groups to prevent them from getting infected prior to being exposed,” Dr Gough says, adding primary care providers have the MMR vaccine available.
“Those most at risk are people from countries where the MMR vaccine is not available, including some Pacific Islands nations such as Tonga and Fiji, and people whose vaccination schedule is not up-to-date,” she says.
She said that for most people who contract mumps, it is usually a mild but unpleasant illness and rarely are there complications.
“While mumps is contagious, you don’t get it walking past someone on the street with mumps, but if you are not immune and you spend time in close proximity with someone who is sick and infectious, you are at risk,” Dr Gough says.
The mumps outbreak in Dunedin was slowing and the spread within was limited. However, new cases were still being notified. These were often linked with travel to a mumps-affected area.