Mumps outbreak a case for vaccination

AN outbreak of mumps at Guildford Grammar School highlights the importance of parents protecting their children through vaccination, Australian Medical Association (WA) president Dr Michael Gannon said.

He had been contacted by GPs and parents concerned about the outbreak.

Mumps is very contagious and starts with flu-like symptoms, followed by facial swelling along the jaw and around the ear.

Serious and potentially lethal complications can include inflammation of the brain, Dr Gannon said.

“We are seeing too many outbreaks of mumps and other infectious diseases that we should have seen the back of,” he said.

“But outbreaks such as this show how easily these diseases again rear their head.”

Mumps is readily preventable with paired doses of the MMR vaccine. People with mumps are advised to avoid work, school and social gatherings for five days after swelling starts.

The virus is highly contagious, there is no antibiotic treatment and this latest outbreak has spread from the boarding house to students at the main school, with a number of additional cases waiting for test results.

Dr Gannon said the school had taken the appropriate steps by telling parents and working closely with the Health Department.

“I would like to congratulate the school involved for the action it has taken to inform parents and to offer booster shots to staff and students.

“I would urge anyone who has contact with the school community to take advantage of this offer.”