THERE has been a spate of mumps cases in the island in recent weeks, public health officials have confirmed – and they are urging the public to get immunised.
Since January 2012, public health has been notified of about 50 cases of mumps. In May, 12 cases have been notified – three of which required hospital treatment.
Those affected at present are both females and males mainly in the age range 20–30 years.
Mumps is an acute viral illness and 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.
Before the introduction of the MMR vaccination mumps was a common childhood illness and accounted for 1,200 hospital admissions a year in England and Wales and was the most common cause of viral meningitis in children.
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.
Members of the public who are the affected age group (up to 30 years), are being urged to have two injections of the MMR vaccine.
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.
MMR offers protection not only against mumps but also against measles and rubella. There have been measles outbreaks in North West England and Europe. This is not a trivial childhood infection – it can cause serious complications.