Teenagers and young adults must get MMR jab as mumps exceeds 1000 cases in 2008 - HPSC


The Health Protection Surveillance Centre today (Tuesday) warned teenagers and young adults to make sure that they have had two doses of MMR vaccine following over 1000 cases of the disease in 2008.

1166 cases have been reported so far compared with 132 for the same period last year and MMR vaccination is the only way to tackle this increase, says HPSC specialist in public health medicine, Dr Suzanne Cotter.

"The huge rise in cases - nearly 60% of whom are between 15 and 24 years old - highlights once again the importance of getting vaccinated with two doses of MMR, which are needed to minimize the risk of infection. This is especially important for all teenagers and young adults, particularly students in schools and colleges following at least seven outbreaks in third level colleges this year.

"Anyone who has not had two doses of MMR needs to talk to their GP or student health service about getting protected. People who are not sure about their vaccination status should get another dose to be on the safe side. The vaccine is free although an administration fee may apply for non-medical card holders.

"Mumps is a contagious acute viral illness that 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. Students need to be aware that the best way to avoid it is to get vaccinated. Anyone who has mumps should stay off for five days after the onset of swollen glands," added Dr Cotter. 

Further information on mumps is available at: http://www.hpsc.ie/hpsc/A-Z/VaccinePreventable/Mumps/