PRO/EDR> Mumps update (03): Zimbabwe (HA) RFI


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sun 6 Aug 2023
Source: The Standard [edited]

Harare has been hit by an outbreak of mumps, a contagious viral
infection mostly common in children that affects the salivary glands.

Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swellings in the side of the
face under the ears, the parotid glands, giving a person with mumps a
distinctive “hamster face” appearance. Other symptoms of mumps include
headaches, joint pain, and a high temperature, which may develop a few
days before the swelling of the parotid glands.

City of Harare health director Prosper Chonzi, confirmed the outbreak
in schools. “Harare Metropolitan province has reported mumps
(mahumunya) in our health centres and community (schools),” Chonzi
said in a statement.

“We, therefore, request through your wider networks to communicate
with parents and guardians referencing this letter to mobilise them to
bring forward all children and adults who got infected or are
currently infected with mumps to visit their council health centres
and cite this letter to their healthcare providers.”

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said
the mumps outbreak is a regional problem, having also been reported in
countries including South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho. “It is a
condition that peaks in the winter season,” Rusike said.

“Mumps outbreaks occur in countries that do not immunise against mumps
and those with low vaccine coverage. Mumps is a viral disease
affecting children mostly, is less virulent than measles and rarely
has complications. The good thing is that measles vaccination now
comes with mumps and rubella, hence the name MMR.”

Rusike attributed the rise in infections to the depressed vaccination
coverage. “So it’s the drop in vaccination coverage post-COVID-19 plus
other health systems challenges in our case,” he said. “There is a
need to conduct routine surveillance of mumps, it should be a
notifiable disease and mumps outbreaks should be investigated to the
extent that resources allow.”

The Centre for Disease Control says the mumps virus replicates in the
upper respiratory tract and is transmitted person to person through
direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets of a person
infected with mumps. The risk of spreading the virus increases the
longer and the closer the contact a person has with someone who has

[Byline: Vanessa Gonye]

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