From the news desk

‘Mumps has been rearing its head,’ says COO at WC Health Dep

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By Aneeqa du Plessis

Following the announcement from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of a mumps outbreak across the country earlier this month, chief operating officer (COO) at the Western Cape Health Department, Dr Saadiq Karriem said the province has seen a continued increase since the beginning of 2023.

“Mumps has been rearing its head over the last couple of weeks. The positivity rate over the last few weeks has been at 69%. According to our colleagues at the Red Cross War Memorial Childrens Hospital there has been a total of 324 cases from January until the mid-May. However, most of them have been discharged,” described Karriem.

Mumps is generally a mild childhood disease, affecting children aged between 5-9 years old, but it can also affect younger and older children and adults.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Swollen salivary glands (below the ear)
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness

Karriem said it is a viral infection and treatment should be supportive.

“If your child is experiencing a fever then we would encourage you to get medication to combat that but it’ll always be better to take the minor to the doctor so the diagnosis can be confirmed,” described Karriem.

Furthermore, the measles outbreak in the country is waning. Only eight cases were recorded in the Western Cape after an outbreak was announced in February.

“We’ve had very few cases in the province, and this is ultimately good news for our citizens and the last two cases that were reported were done in mid-April and since then we haven’t seen any other cases of measles,” explained Karriem.

He further encouraged caregivers and parents to be vaccination savvy and immunize their kids before they become infected with viral diseases.

“Over 750 000 children have been vaccinated across the province in both public and private sector health facilitates. Parents are being responsible in ensuring their children are protected and we thank them and remind those who have yet to do so to act swiftly,” added Karriem.


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