The Public Health Directorate has received a number of notifications of cases of mumps in recent weeks. Mumps is an acute viral illness and which although unpleasant is not life threatening. Mumps is seen less these days since the introduction of the MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccine) in 1988 – prior to the introduction of MMR vaccination mumps was a common childhood illness and accounted for 1200 hospital admissions a year in England and Wales and was the commonest case of viral meningitis in children.
Since January 2012, Public Health has been notified of about 50 cases of mumps. In may, 12 cases have been notified. Three cases required hospital treatment. Those affected at present are both females and males mainly in the age range 20 – 30 years.
Symptoms of mumps include fever, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face (parotitis). Most people recover within a week or two, but for some there can be complications such as orchitis (inflammation of the testis), pancreatitis, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovary) and meningitis.
Advice to the public:
1. Ensure that if you are in the affected age group (up to 30 years), you have two injections of MMR vaccine.
2. If you are not sure of what immunisation you have had in the past and have no records of your immunisation status, contact your doctor to receive two doses of MMR. Even if you had MMR previously, there is no harm from this.
3. MMR offers protection not only against mumps but also against measles and rubella. There are measles outbreaks in the UK (NW England) and Europe. Measles is not a trivial childhood infection; it can cause complications.