The Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ daily enhanced surveillance has detected an increase in mumps cases over the past few weeks.
3 out of the 6 specimens sent overseas for confirmatory tests have tested positive for mumps.
Mumps is an illness caused by a virus that usually affects the glands on each side of the face. These glands, called parotid glands, produce saliva. Mumps spreads easily through coughs and sneezes and through touching surfaces contaminated by the saliva of an infected person.
Symptoms of the illness include swelling on one or both sides of the face, headache, fever, muscle ache, joint pain, loss of appetite and fatigue. In most of the cases symptoms are mild but, in few cases, they can be severe such as high fever, severe drowsiness, neck stiffness, swollen or painful testicles, abdominal pain or back pain, that may require medical attention at the nearest clinic or in the hospital.
MHMS Deputy Secretary Health Care and acting Incidence Controller Dr Gregory Jilini says the increase of mumps cases was detected at various satellite clinics and urban health clinics in and around Honiara, including the National Referral Hospital.
“Analysis of the data collected from our hard working medical staff on the ground at various clinics in and around Honiara show that there is an increase of mumps cases, and we are working closely with partners to ensure this is being managed and contained,” said Dr Jilini.
To reduce the spread of the illness, public are being advise to; staying at home for 9 days at the onset of swelling, covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, wearing a mask when around other people sanitizing surfaces such as door knobs, tables and cups, that may be contaminated and washing hands often with soap and water. There is no treatment for the illness, but symptoms can be eased by taking panadol to ease the fever and pain, drinking plenty of water, rest and by applying wet towel or an ice pack to the on the swollen part of the face.