By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in England say the number of confirmed mumps cases recorded last year is the most seen in the country in a decade.

Image/Robert Herriman

Provisional data from Public Health England (PHE) show that there were 5,042 lab-confirmed cases of mumps in England in 2019, compared to 1,066 cases in 2018. This is the highest number of cases since 2009.

The rise in cases looks set to continue in 2020, with 546 confirmed cases in January 2020 compared to 191 during the same period in 2019.

The steep rise in cases in 2019 has been largely driven by outbreaks in universities and colleges. Many of the cases in 2019 were seen in the so-called ‘Wakefield cohorts’ – young adults born in the late nineties and early 2000s who missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were children. These cohorts are now old enough to attend college and university and are likely to continue fuelling outbreaks into 2020.

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Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself from mumps. It prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and even if a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have a less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at Public Health England, said:

The best protection against mumps and its complications is to have 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. It’s never too late to catch up.

We encourage all students and young people who may have missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past to contact their GP practice and get up to date as soon as possible.

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