Mumps outbreaks reported across England in unvaccinated young people

02 March 2020
Volume 1 · Issue 1


Public Health England has warned of mumps outbreaks accross England as over 5000 cases were confirmed in 2019, the highest number of cases since 2009

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.

According to Public Health England, the steep rise in cases in 2019 has largely been 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.

This rise in cases looks set to continue this year as there were already 546 confirmed cases in January compared to 191 during the same period in 2019.

The viral infection is most recognisable by the painful swelling of the glands at the side of the face, giving a person with mumps a distinctive ‘hamster face’ appearance. Other symptoms include:

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.

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