Hawaii saw 760 cases of mumps in 2017. Last year, there were 10
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii will end the year with more than 760 confirmed cases of mumps statewide.
That's the largest outbreak of the disease in the islands in decades, and translates to about 15 percent of all mumps cases seen nationwide in 2017.
The Hawaii outbreak hasn't grabbed many headlines this year. And that might be because the disease itself isn't terribly serious for most.
But that doesn't mean it isn't concerning to public health officials — especially since there are no signs that it's abating.
Of those who have fallen ill this year, 21 people have suffered from complications, the state Health Department reports. The large majority of those who have fallen ill — 602 — have been on Oahu.
Earlier this month, the outbreak forced an Oahu charter school to start winter break early to prevent the spread of the disease.
This year's outbreak dwarfs totals seen in previous years. In all of 2016, Hawaii saw just 10 total cases of mumps.
To tackle the growing outbreak of mumps, the state is recommending more people get vaccinated, even if they've already been vaccinated before.
The state says the following people born in 1957 or later should get a dose of the MMR vaccine now:
- Those who last got the vaccine five or more years ago
- Those who received two MMR doses 10 or more years ago
- Those who don't know if they've been vaccinated
While mumps spreads easily, it's mostly preventable with a two-dose vaccine.
However, officials say mumps cases this year have been seen in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Hawaii has seen an influx of mumps cases since March, when the Health Department was made aware of nine people with the viral infection.
Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is not considered life-threatening, but there are some lasting side effects, including the swelling of salivary glands and swollen jaws.
For more information on mumps, head to the state Health Department's website.
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