19/09/2020 – Rugby Australia statement on the Brumbies and Mumps

Rugby Australia have been working with SANZAAR and the Brumbies on a medical issue after a small number of cases of mumps were confirmed within the Brumbies playing and team staff following testing this week.

After consultation with ACT Health, as well as Rugby Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and SANZAAR, the situation has been managed. 

Only staff and players who are completely well have been given the all clear to tour for the Brumbies round four clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton. 

The following steps were taken to prevent the spread of the virus: 

  • Immediate isolation of all suspected or confirmed cases and keeping these players and staff away from the remainder of the squad until at least five (5) days after the onset of symptoms. 
  • Ensuring all Brumbies players and staff, as well as their partners and children, have their immunisations up to date, and providing MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) boosters to those identified at being at risk of infection because of the outbreak.
  • Recommending to all other Super Rugby franchises that they check the immunisation status of all players and staff and provide MMR boosters to anyone who has not previously received two doses of mumps-containing vaccine at least four weeks apart.
  • Regarding travel, particularly to New Zealand this weekend to play the Chiefs, only Brumbies players and staff who are completely well, and who meet one of the two following criteria have been selected to travel:
    • A person who has been diagnosed with mumps, whose symptoms have resolved, and who has completed their isolation period of five (5) days from the onset of symptoms. These people are considered immune.
    • A person who can demonstrate immunity to mumps – either they have written documentation of receiving two (2) doses of mumps-containing vaccine at least four (4) weeks apart, or they are IgG positive on serology.
  • Additionally, the travelling group will be asked about symptoms prior to boarding the flight and anyone with symptoms will not board and will remain in Canberra for testing and isolation.
  • Once in New Zealand, if a Brumbies player or staff member becomes unwell, they will immediately be isolated in a single room and testing will be arranged. They will need to remain in isolation for five days from onset of symptoms in NZ if they return a positive result for mumps.

The initial testing conducted last week was inconclusive with a second wave of testing confirming the presence of the virus amongst some players and staff.  

Contact has been made with all Super Rugby teams, while each of the teams that the Brumbies have played in recent weeks (Queensland Reds, Melbourne Rebels and Highlanders) are monitoring their staff and players, with no further reported cases to date. 

Rugby Australia, SANZAAR and the Brumbies, as well as ACT Health and relevant Public Health authorities in New Zealand, will continue to monitor the situation.