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Warning after mumps rise

PUBLISHED: 18:40 11 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:37 06 July 2010

MMR vaccine

MMR vaccine

Young people are being warned to make sure they have been properly protected against mumps after a big rise in cases of the disease.

Young people are being warned to make sure they have been properly protected against mumps after a big rise in cases of the disease.

In the East of England there were 467 confirmed cases of mumps in January to July alone, compared with 136 for the whole of last year. In Norfolk there were 14 cases in the first half of the year, compared with 10 last year. In Suffolk there were 27 during January to July, compared with 15 last year. Cambridgeshire has seen a bigger rise, with 82 cases compared to 15 last year.

Most cases of mumps affect 15- 24 year-olds. Mumps causes fever, swelling, and tenderness in the glands, though it is possible to be infected without showing symptoms. Some men suffer from swollen testicles, and it can also lead to complications like meningitis and swelling of the brain.

There has been a small drop in cases of measles locally, although across the region the measles cases may still be higher than last year's by the end of the year. Norfolk in particular has seen a fall in measles cases, with just one case in January to July, compared with 11 last year.

Joe Kearney, regional director for the Health Protection Agency in the East of England, said: “There are a large number of teenagers and young adults who missed out on vaccination at an earlier age, which is why there are so many cases of mumps in this age group. Ideally we need 95pc of the population to be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks of these diseases.

“Children should have two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) to ensure the best protection. The first dose of the vaccine should be given at 13 months of age and the second at around three years and four months of age. Young people who haven't received two doses of MMR should speak to their GP urgently.”

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