Booster jab plea as mumps cases rise

The data shows there were 795 cases of the highly contagious viral disease recorded in the first quarter of this year – extrapolated for the whole of 2019 it would equate to 3,180. This is almost five times more than the 145 recorded in the first quarter of 2016 – or 580 for the year. Symptoms often include fever, muscle pain and swelling of the salivary glands. Complications can include meningitis and sterility in men. 

Emily Cleary, 41, a mother of two from Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, caught mumps last August.

The journalist said she woke up to a swollen tongue. “I felt I was going to choke to death because of the swelling,” she said. 

“The virus affected me for over six months afterwards. My GP thinks I caught it from an unvaccinated child. Every child that can be vaccinated should be vaccinated.”

The increase in cases of mumps, revealed in Government figures, are being partially blamed on health concerns over the MMR jab given to babies in the nineties. Many suffering mumps may have missed the triple measles, mumps and rubella jab introduced in 1988. 

Public Health England said many of those catching mumps were teens or in their early 20s.

The rise in cases has prompted a call for an extra vaccine – as the mumps part of the triple vaccine is about 85 percent effective and its potency wanes. 

Expert Prof Jonathan Ball at University of Nottingham, said: “When there are outbreaks among these groups Public Health England should consider offering a booster jab.” 

Dr Mary Ramsay at Public Health England said: “We’re monitoring it closely and urging parents and their children to check they’ve had two doses of MMR. It’s never too late to get the jab.” 

But Jackie Fletcher of Jabs, which educates parents about potential side effects of vaccines, said: “There is a case for allowing children to develop the wild immunity in mumps at a young age as was the case before the introduction of the triple MMR jab as by the time children reach early adulthood the mumps part of the vaccine has often worn off making people more susceptible to disease when it’s more dangerous to them.”

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