Rise in mumps prompts warning

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HEALTH officials have urged people to get their MMR jabs following a surge in mumps cases.

A total of 133 cases of mumps have been diagnosed in the North East between April and June, up from 32 for the same quarter last year.

More than half the cases have been reported in people aged 14 to 24.

The increase follows a national trend and the Health Protection Agency is urging teenagers to ensure they are protected against the infection, as well as encouraging parents to make sure their children have both doses of the MMR vaccine.

Immunisation Lead Julia Waller said: “We have seen a sharp rise in mumps cases over recent years and teenagers and young adults who have not had two doses of MMR vaccine are particularly vulnerable.

“Whilst most people recover from mumps within a week, it can still be a very unpleasant disease. Occasionally, some people may develop complications that can include inflammation of the pancreas, viral meningitis, inflamed and swollen testicles in men and ovaries in women.

“There is no treatment for mumps, but it can be prevented by the safe and highly effective MMR vaccine. It’s vital that children receive both doses of the vaccine and ahead of returning to school or university after the holidays, we are urging parents to ensure their children have received the two doses, which are required to ensure the best protection.”

Anyone concerned about the issue should contact their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647.