Health officials are urging people to have both parts of the MMR vaccine as outbreaks of mumps in universities and colleges rose to 5,042 in 2019, which is four times the number in 2018.
Most cases were young adults who had missed out on the MMR (measles mumps and rubella) vaccine, which is usually given to young children.
Dr Vanessa Saliba from Public Health England said: “We encourage all students and young people who may have missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past to contact their GP practise and get up to date as soon as possible.”
Public Health England has said that the two full doses of the vaccination were needed to maximise protection against mumps. There were also increases in mumps cases in Wales and Scotland in 2019.
People now in their 20’s may have missed out on the MMR vaccine at a young age due to wide speculations in the 90’s that the MMR vaccine caused autism. However scientific evidence has since disproven these theories and parents are urged not to skip out on giving their child the vaccine to avoid the very real risks of mumps.
What is it?
Mumps is a viral infection that used to be very common before the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988.
The illness is contagious which is why it is vital that all children receive the MMR vaccine in their younger years.
Mumps is spread through infected droplets of saliva breathed in through the mouth and nose.
What are the signs?
Mumps causes painful swelling of the glands at the side of the face, along with other symptoms such as fever, joint pain and headache. Most people usually recover without treatment, however in severe cases complications with mumps can cause inflammation of the testicles in males, meningitis and deafness.
How to prevent it?
The MMR vaccine stands for Measles, Mumps and Rubella and is safe and effective against all three illnesses. Health professionals say that the vaccine is vital to protect the population against these illnesses, and people must make sure to get both doses of the vaccine for it to work properly. Dr Saliba says that even though the vaccine is usually given to children, it is never too late to catch up.