The mumps outbreak in Hawaii, once described as “by far the worst in several decades” in the state, has reached the one-year mark, and while cases are still being reported, health officials do say there are signs the outbreak is slowing.
The current outbreak began a year ago in March 2017 with two clusters of cases involving nine individuals on Oahu. By October, some 500 cases had been confirmed prompting officials to recommend an outbreak dose of the MMR vaccine for adolescents (aged 10-19 years) and adults (born in 1957 or later).
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.
While there are reports of the outbreak slowing, health officials say the public should continue to protect themselves with an outbreak dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
“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,” State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah 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 Hawaii 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.
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