herald

Sunday 13 October 2019

Senior Cup rugby clash off after suspected outbreak of mumps at Blackrock College

Blackrock College are the Senior Cup defending champions. Photo: Sportsfile
Blackrock College are the Senior Cup defending champions. Photo: Sportsfile

Blackrock College has been forced to cancel a rugby match after a suspected mumps outbreak at the South Dublin private school.

A staff member at the school confirmed the outbreak had been discovered and all "precautions" were being taken, including cancelling tomorrow's crunch Senior Cup clash with rivals St Michael's.

It is believed the disease was discovered in Blackrock's boarding school.

A spokeswoman for St Michael's College said they had been alerted that the Leinster Rugby Schools Senior Cup quarter-final was postponed after contact from the organising committee.

St Michael's said Blackrock had cancelled the game due to concerns of a mumps outbreak.

Trinity College has also been affected by the same suspected illness.

In an email to staff and students, the director of Trinity College's health service, Dr David McGrath, wrote: "There have been a number of cases of mumps in the Dublin area recently and we have had some cases of mumps here in college over the past week or so.

Vaccination

"I would encourage all of our college community to check they have had the two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines and to make an appointment for vaccination either at college health or with their own GP if they're not protected.

"I would recommend all students check their childhood vaccination history with their family GP."

In a letter sent to staff and students from Dr Mary Conlon, senior medical officer at the HSE, the risks of mumps were laid out, including fever, headaches, cheek and jaw swelling, testicular inflammation, meningitis and - in rare cases - encephalitis and deafness.

Students were asked to stay away from college for five days if swelling developed, as a precaution.

According to the HSE, there's been an increase in mumps in Ireland since August 2018.

In 2018, 576 mumps alerts were made to the HSE, provisional data shows.

The escalation of cases was first noted in August and has continued since.

So far this year, 274 reports of mumps have been made in total, from all regions.

The HSE said: "In the absence of vaccination status on cases, we cannot state categorically that this resurgence is related to poor uptake of MMR."

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