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Vaccines urged after 117pc rise in mumps

Mumps is on the rise in Ireland with over 400 cases diagnosed so far this year.

This is a massive 117pc jump on figures for the whole of last year. In 2013, there were 184 cases of mumps, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

The majority of this year's cases have affected young people aged 17 to 20.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection, which is most common in children over the age of two who have not been vaccinated, teenagers and young adults.

The infection is spread via airborne droplets - when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through direct contact with an infected person or contaminated items.

Symptoms can include fever, headache and a swollen jaw or cheeks.

Dr Suzanne Cotter of the HPSC said that while the current outbreak of mumps is not expected to be as severe as the last large outbreak in 2009, anyone who has not been vaccinated already should get themselves vaccinated immediately as this is the best method of protection.

Last month, the Herald revealed that UCD issued a mumps alert after several students on campus have been diagnosed with the condition - which at its worst can cause sterility or lead to meningitis.

Students, particularly those aged under 25, have been urged to ensure they have had two MMR vaccines. The vaccine has been offered for free to the university's students, however there is a doctor's fee of €25.

INFLAMMATION

The complications are usually mild but doctors have warned that serious complications can include meningitis, deafness and inflammation of the testicles, ovaries or pancreas.

The vaccine is administered to babies aged 12-15 months, which is then followed by a booster shot when the child begins school at the age of four or five.

A single dose of the vaccine prevents mumps in over 90pc of immunised children, the second booster gives protection to over 99pc.

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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