The Northland DHB is appealing to Northland parents to ensure their children's immunisations are up to date as confirmed cases of mumps and pertussis (whooping cough) continue to rise.
By last week the DHB had been notified of eight confirmed cases of mumps in school-aged children in Dargaville, taking the number of notifications in Northland for the year to date to 24, compared with six last year and three in 2015.
With the school holiday period approaching and the current mumps outbreak in Auckland, it was especially important for people under the age of 35, and for parents, to check their families' vaccination status, Medical Officer of Health Dr Virginia McLaughlin said.
"Vaccination is the best protection against mumps. If you or your children have not had the recommended two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations, it is strongly recommended that you get these up to date."
Mumps had recently gained attention internationally, with a number of All Blacks contracting the illness, highlighting the importance of ensuring vaccines for young adults up to 29 were up to date.
"Vaccination is the best protection against mumps. If you or your children have not had the recommended two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations, it is strongly recommended that you get these up to date," she said.
"Contact your doctor or practice nurse if you are unsure whether you or your family have been vaccinated, and book in vaccination if they haven't."
Mumps, which could lead to meningitis in about one in 10 people, was spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing, or through contact with infected saliva (kissing, sharing food and drink).
Anyone who was suspected of having mumps should stay away from school or work, and phone ahead to their GP, so they would not be sitting in the waiting room.
Healthline could be contacted on 0800 611-116 at any time for advice from a registered nurse.
Dr McLaughlin confirmed an increase in notified cases of whooping cough in Northland, with 48 notifications this year compared with nine last year and 36 in 2015.
"Whooping cough can be a very serious illness for babies and children, especially under one year of age," she said. Twenty-five cases had been notified at Ngunguru, with others throughout the region.
Mumps symptoms are pain in the jaw, fever, headache, and swelling of the glands around the face. It usually takes 12 to 25 days for the patient to feel unwell. They will be infectious from one week before the swelling appears until five days later.
Two doses of the MMR vaccine, given at 15 months and four years, would protect about 85 per cent of people.