Increase in Mumps Cases
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has noted an increase in the number of mumps cases reported in 2008 compared to the previous year. To date in 2008, 459 mumps cases have been reported to HPSC, 22 of whom were admitted to hospital. Almost 60% of reported cases are in the 10 to 24 year age group. This follows 142 cases in 2007, 427 in 2006 and 1079 cases in 2005 which was due to a nationwide outbreak that year. Several mumps outbreaks have been notified in third level colleges and in schools, both primary and second-level this year.
Since 2004, teenagers and young adults have been most affected by mumps. Most individuals affected by mumps either never received or received just one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. MMR protects against measles, mumps and rubella and two doses are needed to provide protection against infection. The vaccine is free although an administration fee may apply for non-medical card holders. The vaccine is available from GPs or student health services in third level colleges.
Mumps is a contagious acute viral illness which causes fever, headache and painful swollen glands. Complications are usually mild but it can cause meningitis, deafness and inflammation of the testicles, ovaries or pancreas. It is important to be aware that the best way to avoid it is to get vaccinated. It is also advised that anyone who has mumps should stay off work/college/school/crèche etc for nine days after the onset of swollen glands.
More information on mumps is available at http://www.ndsc.ie/hpsc/A-Z/VaccinePreventable/Mumps/