Between the middle of 2014 to the middle of this year, Ireland health officials have reported 1,993 mumps cases with about half saying they received 1, 2 or 3 doses of the preventive MMR vaccine, according to data from the country’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). 41% of cases did not have their vaccination status available.
The HPSC says the data provided by cases or available to public health does suggest that a majority of cases were vaccinated with at least one dose of MMR. However, as identified in the analysis, it also suggests that there are large gaps in two dose MMR vaccination uptake.
Many outbreaks reported were linked to schools/colleges or universities as well as family outbreaks, officials note.
This has prompted health officials to promote MMR vaccination for all individuals who have missed their MMR vaccines provided by GP or school settings. MMR can, and should, be obtained by these individuals, before they return to school/college/university in September.
The two dose MMR vaccination strategy is considered the best mumps prevention strategy. Two doses of the vaccine are 88% (range: 66-95%) effective at preventing mumps; one dose is 78% (range: 49%−92%) effective.
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or softdrink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.
Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications.
The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.
Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.