Get your jabs alert over mumps surge
HEALTH chiefs last night urged people to get vaccinated against potentially lethal mumps after the worst outbreak in a decade spread through the university student community.
Cases jumped to 2,028 in the three months to June compared with 795 in the previous quarter.
And 301 new measles infections were confirmed in the same three-month period – an increase on the 231 cases from the first quarter of the year.
The outbreaks have prompted Public Health England to issue an urgent plea to parents to ensure their children have the MMR measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles) vaccination. Two doses are required for protection.
All three are highly infectious and can have serious potentially fatal complications, including meningitis.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Public Health England’s head of immunisation, said: “Although it is normal to see mumps outbreaks in universities every few years, we are seeing the highest quarterly figure since 2009.
“Coupled with the continued measles outbreaks these figures clearly demonstrate the need for sustained high vaccination rates.
“We’re urging parents and their children, no matter how old they are, to check they’ve had two doses of MMR. Measles is easy to catch and can kill.”
The increase is particularly worrying as only last year Britain was declared free of measles by the World Health Organisation.
Measles has also returned to three other European countries declared free of the illness – Albania, Czech Republic and Greece.
Almost 365,000 cases have been reported worldwide this year – three times the number as in the first half of last year.
The trend coincides with a rise in the anti-vaccine movement which promotes lies slurring safe and effective jabs.
The MMR vaccine is available on the NHS as a single injection to babies. A second jab is given just before starting school.
The vaccine is also available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their two doses.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our 30-year MMR vaccination programme is estimated to have prevented 1.8million painful and potentially fatal cases of mumps.”
Danger...mumps is on rise