Mumps Infections in Hawaii Increase Almost Tenfold Since Beginning of Investigation


The Hawaii Department of Health continues to investigate the growing number of mumps infections in the state.

Although no longer common in the United States, one virus continues to plague the state of Hawaii: mumps.

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been investigating increasing cases of mumps infections throughout the state since March 2017. At that time, health officials identified 2 clusters of cases, and, since then, the number of cases related to these initial clusters has increased. In addition, new isolated cases have also been identified, which have “no relation to [the original] clusters” are also growing in number, according to the DOH.

As of July 6, 2017, the DOH has reported 143 confirmed mumps infections in the state. The virus has infected children and adults alike, who were either vaccinated or unvaccinated, according to the news update. About 45% of the cases are in adults who are 18 years of age or older.

In the initial news release on the outbreak, state epidemiologist Sarah Park, MD, FAAP, commented, “There is no specific treatment for mumps infection and while most people will recover completely, mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults.” She continued, “Cases have been reported in vaccinated individuals, but vaccination is still the best protection against this disease. We encourage everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about mumps vaccination.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive 2 doses of the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine—the first dose should be administered between 12 and 15 months of age, and the second dose should be given between the ages of 4 and 6.

Because mumps continues to circulate in the state of Hawaii, however, the Hawaii DOH recommends that children between the ages of 1 and 4 receive “their second dose now (a minimum of 4 weeks after the first dose).” They also recommend that individuals who were born in or after 1957 receive 1 MMR dose if they have not been previously vaccinated. Furthermore, they suggest that all individuals with only 1 documented MMR dose receive a second dose.

Mumps is an extremely contagious disease, which is why it is easy for outbreaks to spring up, especially if individuals are not vaccinated. When an individual receives 2 doses of the vaccine it is about 88% effective against the virus; 1 dose of the vaccine offers about 78% effectiveness.

A representative from the DOH told Contagion® via email correspondence that the, “DOH urges those who are suspected or diagnosed with mumps to stay at home and not attend school, work, or travel to avoid exposing others. Persons exhibiting symptoms of the disease are also urged to contact their healthcare provider immediately.”

Continue following the recent mumps outbreak in Hawaii via our Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.

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