84% increase in mumps cases reported to HPSC

There has been an 84% increase in the number of cases of mumps reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre in recent weeks.

Over the first five weeks of this year, the number of cases has increased to 231, compared to just 36 over the same period last year, an increase of 195.

There were 50 cases of the highly infectious disease reported over the week ending Saturday, February 2.

MMR uptake rates among children in Ireland remain below the target of 95% needed to prevent the spread of mumps, according to the HPSC.

Last week, the HSE alerted Trinity College Dublin that there had been cases of mumps in the university and other students might have been exposed.

The HSE warned that students who had not had mumps and had not received two doses of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine were “quite likely” to get mumps.

People are infectious for up to seven days before their cheeks become swollen and become highly infectious for five days after symptoms develop.

David McGrath, director of TCD’s college health service, said mumps must be taken seriously because in rare cases, it could cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and deafness.

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