Harare health authorities play down mumps outbreak

Dr Prosper Chonzi
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HARARE – Harare health authorities have played down concerns the recent mumps outbreak could spiral into a fully-fledged health-related disaster.

Harare Provincial medical director Dr Innocent Hove told journalists that the incidence of mumps in the capital was nothing to worry about.

“There have been cases of mumps that have been recorded but you understand that mumps is a self-limiting condition, which means somebody can develop mumps and can heal on its own while a person is at home,” he said.

“Once somebody has healed, there is no need for them to go to the hospital.

“They might present at health facilities, but we do not have as many people or cases that have been reported in our clinics.

“These are just numbers that we are picking within the community.”

Hove said one can heal from the condition using a common drug such as paracetamol without visiting a doctor.

He said cases of mumps have were also recorded in neighbouring countries.

“Some of these conditions are seasonal,” he said.

“We have had cases being reported in some of the neighbouring countries South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.

“So it’s not strange that we might have some cases here; otherwise everything is under control.”

In an alert issued last week, Harare City Health Department director, Dr. Prosper Chonzi said cases of mumps were recorded in health centres and community schools.

“Harare metropolitan province has reported mumps (mahumunya) cases in our health centres and community (schools).

“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 get infected with mumps to visit their council health centres and cite this letter to their health care providers,” he said.

Known as mahumunya/amatitiyane in local languages, mumps is a contagious viral infection which leads to painful swelling of parotid salivary glands in the face.

The condition is common among children aged from 5-9, although both adolescents and adults may be affected.

Signs and symptoms of mumps include swelling of salivary glands (areas on cheeks, under cheeks and below the cheeks) lasting more than two days without apparent cause.

Other signs include pain on chewing or swallowing, general body weakness, loss of appetite and swelling of testicles for boys. – ZimLive