The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) continues to investigate an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide.

Image/Nick Roux, updated by Peter Fitzgerald
Image/Nick Roux, updated by Peter Fitzgerald

As of Nov. 9, 557 confirmed cases of mumps have been reported in 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties.

The disease has been confirmed in children and adults, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.  Nearly 60% of cases have been in adults aged 18 years and older.  There have been 16 reports of complications due to mumps infection (e.g., orchitis, hearing loss).

The best way to prevent mumps is to get vaccinated.   The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Due to the current mumps outbreak in Hawaii, in addition to the routine vaccination recommendations above, persons born in 1957 or later, especially those who live or work in crowded conditions, should receive an additional MMR vaccine dose now:

For persons born in 1957 or later:

Number of previous MMR doses Years since last MMR dose Vaccinate Now
2 10 years or more Yes
1 5 years or more Yes
None or unknown Yes

Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with mumps during childhood.  The majority of people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected with mumps and therefore are presumed to be protected.  Persons born before 1957 who are unsure if they had mumps disease previously should talk to their healthcare provider about vaccination.

In general, although it is not ideal, receiving extra doses of vaccine poses no medical problem.