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26 March 2019, 16:33
Public Health England says it's been made aware of 223 suspected cases of mumps at two universities in Nottingham.
Public Health England (PHE) in the East Midlands is working with Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council and NHS partners, following a number of cases of suspected mumps within the two universities.
PHE East Midlands advises teenagers and young adults (aged 15-24 years) to protect themselves against mumps by having the MMR jab. They say they're working closely with the university to persuade unprotected students of the importance of MMR vaccination.
Dr Vanessa MacGregor, Consultant in Health Protection, said: "We have seen a rise in the figures recently and teenagers and young adults who have not had two doses of MMR vaccine are particularly vulnerable.
"That is why we are working closely with Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham to inform students about mumps and to explain why vaccination is important. School leavers and other young adults who have not received the MMR or only received one dose should ensure that they take up the offer of MMR vaccination.
"However, it's not just students who are at risk and we would urge everyone who hasn't received two doses of MMR vaccine to do so. MMR also gives immunity to measles and rubella."
The usual symptoms are a painful inflammation and swelling of the salivary glands under one or both sides of the jaw, fever and headache.
Some people suffer complications that can include inflammation of the pancreas; viral meningitis (inflammation of the brain); inflamed and swollen testicles in men and ovaries in women. Mumps can also cause deafness.
To be fully protected, children and adults need to have two doses of the MMR vaccine.
In about 1 in 3 cases, mumps doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms
Complications are rare but include swelling of the ovaries (oophoritis), swelling of the testes (orchitis), aseptic meningitis and deafness.
Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu - through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose.
A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards.
PHE is also stressing that it's important to contact your GP if you suspect mumps so a diagnosis can be made. While mumps isn't usually serious, the condition has similar symptoms to more serious types of infection, such as glandular fever and tonsillitis.
Mumps can be confirmed in the laboratory by testing a sample of oral fluid from your mouth. Your GP surgery may either administer this test to you or may offer you a test kit that enables you to do the test for yourself. Alternatively, a test kit will be sent to you in the post from Public Health England.
It is important to confirm the diagnosis, so we would encourage you to use the test kit and return it either to the surgery or to Public health England using the freepost envelope provided. The test is very easy to do, and the kit comes with instructions. Test results will be sent to your GP Surgery
You can protect yourself against mumps by making sure you have received two doses of the combined MMR vaccine (for mumps, measles and rubella).
If you are not sure whether or not you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, please check with your parents first and then with your GP.
If you have not had two doses of MMR vaccine, please make an appointment with your GP to get vaccinated. We still recommend two doses of MMR even if you have previously had single measles vaccine or measles and rubella vaccine.
MMR vaccine is freely available on the NHS and is the best protection against mumps. Some people may still get mumps after they have received two doses of MMR but they get a much milder illness and are less likely to suffer from any complications.