Mumps activity in 2014


There has been a doubling of mumps notifications in Ireland in 2014 with 414 cases reported this year (to date) compared to a total of 223 mumps cases in 2013. The most recent upsurge coincided with the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic term.

Most cases are in the Dublin region (197 cases), but all regions are affected. The numbers of cases in other regions are as follows; South (98 cases), Southeast (85 cases), West (62 cases) and Midwest (36 cases). The Midlands, the Northeast and the Northwest have reported less than 20 cases each. A total of 17 outbreaks have been reported during the year, six of which are linked to universities/colleges, three to schools, six are family outbreaks and two were in the general community. Sporadic cases, without specific links to any particular setting, are also being reported.

Most cases are male (60%). The highest number and age specific incidence rate is in the 17-20 year age group, with 146 cases reported (ASIR 66/100,000 population). This compares to 103 cases in the < 17 year age group (ASIR 9/100,000).

For most individuals diagnosed with mumps they were diagnosed and treated in the community. The most commonly reported symptoms were fever, and inflammation and swelling of the salivary glands, usually the parotid gland. Twenty-two people were hospitalised as a result of mumps infection.

Fifty-percent of the mumps cases have been confirmed by laboratory testing with the remainder diagnosed on clinical findings.

Among all cases notified, a third report having received two doses of MMR vaccine, 19% reported one dose, and 13% reported no vaccination. For another 33% of cases no information was provided on vaccination status. Less than 1% of cases reported three doses of MMR vaccine.

The last large national mumps outbreak occurred in 2009, when more than 3,500 mumps cases were reported. Control measures at that time focussed on increasing MMR vaccination among students who had not received two doses of the mumps containing vaccine.

The best prevention against mumps is two doses of MMR vaccination. MMR vaccine is free for all children. The first dose is normally given at 12 months of age and the second dose at school entry (4-5 years of age). HSE has undertaken an MMR catch-up campaign for school students since 2009. Some teenagers/young adults who did not obtain two doses of MMR vaccine are encouraged to obtain the vaccine from their GP or student health services.

Further information on mumps and MMR vaccine is available from HPSC and the HSE National Immunisation Office.