Date: Mon 22 Aug 2011
Source: Bernews [edited]
Bermuda Health Department: Several Cases Of
The Department of Health today [22 Aug 2011] confirmed that physicians in the community have reported several cases of mumps, a vaccine preventable disease, in August. Although a serious disease, mumps is now very uncommon. There have been only a total of 8 confirmed cases of mumps reported on the island over the past 10 years.
The Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Cann expressed concern over the number of reported cases this year, in light of our high immunization coverage rates. He noted that mumps is highly communicable and it only takes a few unvaccinated individuals to initiate transmission.
Mumps is usually a mild viral disease characterized by mild fever, headache, muscle ache and swelling of the parotid salivary glands (located in the area between the neck and jaw, below the ears). Serious side effects of mumps are more common among adults than children. The disease is spread by contact with an infected person, through coughing and sneezing.
Mumps vaccine [contained in MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) combined vaccine] can prevent this disease. The vaccine given to children on a 2-dose schedule prevents almost all cases of mumps [But see: ProMED-mail post 'Mumps - Czech Republic: (SK) supplementary vaccination? 20110822.2553 - Mod.CP]. The MMR vaccine was introduced for general use in Bermuda in 1983 as part of Bermuda's childhood immunization programme. The majority of children have been fully immunized by the age of 6 years. MMR is given at 15 months and a booster is given between the ages of 4 to 6 years.
The Department of Health recommends that parents check their child's immunization record to see if he or she has had the mumps or MMR vaccine. If your child has not been vaccinated and is 15 months of age or older, contact your pediatrician or family physician to have your child vaccinated as soon as possible.
In addition, the department recommends that parents, who suspect that their child has mumps, contact their physician for diagnosis and treatment Public Health Nurses will contact parents of children who may have been exposed to individuals with mumps to ascertain their immunization status and help determine whether they are protected. The Health Department also said that children with suspected mumps should be excluded from school/day care for at least 9 days after the swollen glands 1st appeared.
[It may be that MMR vaccine coverage in Bermuda in recent years has been less than optimal. It is not stated whether the mumps cases are unvaccinated individuals. However it is now well established that the mumps component of the triple MMR vaccine is less protective than the other 2 components, and a small proportion of vaccinated individuals may still be at risk of infection.