Mumps has reached epidemic levels in New Zealand according to health chiefs in Auckland, with another 25 cases were diagnosed over the holiday period.
Currently 1070 people have been diagnosed with the viral infection since the start of last year, most of whom are between the ages of 11 and 25 - where immunisation rates are lower than the country’s average.
Mumps is a condition that used to be common throughout the Western World, and is characterised by swollen parotid glands. It can also cause joint pain, headaches and nausea. The MMR vaccine, introduced in the UK in 1988, virtually eradicated the condition, however vaccination rates amongst Kiwis have slowly declined.
Speaking to RadioNZ about the rising figures, Helen Petousis-Harris, senior lecturer in vaccinology at Auckland University, highlighted the risk factors that exist - even for those who have been vaccinated.
She said: “Over time, even those people who have had two doses of vaccines - their protection will probably start to wane after ten or 15 years, so some of those people will start to become susceptible to the disease.”
Cases have been discovered and reported across New Zealand, with Auckland, Dunedin and Dargaville being the most affected areas.
Despite facing an unwanted battle with Mumps, New Zealand remains a highly attractive location for medics to call home. A healthy work/life balance, laid back lifestyle and high quality working conditions combine to make it a very attractive location to call home.
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