New Zealand’s mumps outbreak is now an epidemic and Auckland health leaders have asked the Ministry of Health to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign.
Low immunisation rates are also leaving the population to a large scale, potentially deadly measles outbreak.
An epidemic now exists because the disease can’t be contained.
More than 1000 people have contracted mumps in Auckland this year, most of them from the so called “lost generation” of 11-29 year olds with low rates of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination.
Three district health board CEOs – Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata – and two senior Auckland Regional Public Health service officials wrote to the ministry saying a national response was needed to help slow the disease.
Existing measures were having minimal impact, their letter said.
It asked for a “catch-up” campaign for all those who haven’t been vaccinated – most of them adolescents and adults.
That was crucial to bringing the outbreak under control and prevent it taking hold nationally, the letter said.
Mumps cases have already been reported in Dunedin, Whanganui, Northland and Hamilton.
About 1.3 million New Zealanders are aged 10 to 29 and if the estimate that 40 percent are not fully vaccinated is correct, that would mean 570,000 are susceptible to mumps.