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CDC issues travel notice for New Zealand as mumps cases in Auckland top 800

Auckland, New Zealand has reported the most mumps cases since 1994 with the latest data showing 802 confirmed and probable cases reported this year. Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) reports that around 80 percent of the current cases were not fully vaccinated.

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The New Zealand Ministry of Health says usually, a few cases occur each year in New Zealand.

The mumps outbreak in New Zealand has prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a travel notice for the country.

CDC recommends that travelers to New Zealand protect themselves by making sure they are vaccinated against mumps. The only mumps vaccines available in the United States are the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines. Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults also should be up to date on their MMR vaccinations (two doses at least 28 days apart).

Besides vaccination, health officials also recommend travelers wash their hands often. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) to clean hands; Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean; Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing and Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.

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Mumps is a contagious disease that is spread when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk. Sharing items, like cups or drink cans, with infected people can also spread the virus. The virus can also live for several hours on items and surfaces touched by an infected person. Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands (under the ears or jaw) on one or both sides of the face. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease.

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