Mumps outbreak warning

Public Health Wales is warning of an increase in mumps cases because thousands of young people remain unvaccinated with MMR.

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What is mumps?

Public Health Wales issues the following information on mumps:

  • An acute viral illness, only known to affect humans
  • Transmitted by direct contact with saliva or droplets from saliva of infected person
  • One or both of parotid salivary glands (near ears) swell up and become painful
  • Around one-third of people infected develop no symptoms
  • Most cases are mild, but when complications occur they can be serious
  • Can be caught at any age
  • Having it once usually confers lifelong immunity to catching it again
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunisation protects over 95% of children
  • Current schedule recommends one dose to be given at around 13 months, and a second dose at between 3-5 years

'Very real concern' over risk of mumps

Public Health Wales is warning that there could be an outbreak of mumps here, because too many young people have still not had an MMR vaccination.

In Wales, there have been the following confirmed cases of mumps:

  • 76 so far this year, until the end of May
  • 88 for the whole of 2012
  • 77 for the whole of 2011

More than 50,000 unscheduled MMR vaccinations have been given across Wales since the outbreak of measles began. The public health body says young people between 10 and 18 have been hardest hit by the outbreak - and there are still 35,000 in this age group unvaccinated.

There is a very real concern that while we have too few people aged 10 to 18 vaccinated with MMR in Wales, they are at risk of mumps as well as measles.Mumps is always circulating in Wales but the number of cases we have seen this year is particularly high.

This [measles] outbreak has shown us how quickly infection can spread between people who are not vaccinated.

The message remains that these infections can be extremely serious and anyone not fully vaccinated is at risk. If you are not vaccinated, now is the time to contact your GP.

– Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales


Measles outbreak 'has slowed significantly'

Thousands of MMR jabs have been given in schools and drop-in clinics in the last few months. Credit: PA

The number of cases in the measles outbreak centred on Swansea have risen by 20 in the last week, to reach 1,191.

Dr Marion Lyons from Public Health Wales said the outbreak "has slowed significantly, but parents should not believe this is the last we will see of measles in Wales if large numbers remain unvaccinated."

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