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Protect yourself from mumps as cases reach decade-high level
Posted on 9 Mar 2020
With the numbers of cases of mumps in England rising to the highest level in a decade, health bosses in Coventry and Warwickshire are urging residents to make sure they are protected against the infection.
Provisional data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that there were 5,042 lab-confirmed cases of mumps in England in 2019, compared to 1,066 cases in 2018. This is the highest number of cases since 2009.
The steep rise in cases in 2019 has been largely driven by outbreaks in universities and colleges. Many students born in the late nineties and early 2000s never received the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine when they were young. Settings such as university halls allow mumps to spread quickly, because it is so highly contagious.
The symptoms of mumps include painful swelling of the glands at the side of the face, giving a person with mumps a distinctive "hamster face" appearance. Other symptoms include headaches, joint pain and fever, which may develop a few days before the swelling. If you suspect that you or a family member has mumps, contact your GP.
Dr David Spraggett, Chair of NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Mumps is often very uncomfortable and can sometimes lead to serious complications including viral meningitis and infertility.
“The most effective way to avoid getting mumps it to get both doses of the MMR vaccine. It prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and even if a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.
Dr Imogen Staveley, Deputy Chair of NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “If you haven’t received both doses, or are unsure if you have been vaccinated then please contact your GP for advice.”
For more information on the vaccine for mumps visit the NHS website.