Important information about Mumps

Are you fully immunised against Mumps?
Are you registered with a Doctor yet?

You may be aware that over the last few years there has been an increase in the number of people aged 18-28 in the UK who have contracted the mumps infection.

The reason why this age group has a high risk of mumps is that most are too old to have been vaccinated. Students under 28 are most at risk. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was only introduced in 1988. A booster dose was introduced in 1996

What is Mumps?

Mumps is an infection caused by a virus and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swelling and tenderness of glands in one or both sides of the neck (called parotitis)
  • Running nose and eyes, sore throat and ears – particularly in young children
  • Generally feeling unwell
Most people with mumps go on to make a full recovery however occasionally more serious complications of mumps infection can occur. These include:
  • A mild form of meningitis (inflammation of the layers surrounding the brain)
  • Ear infections which can lead to hearing impairment
  • Swelling and tenderness of the testicles in adolescents and adult men (orchitis), and inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) in women, though it is very rare for these to cause serious complications such as infertility
  • Inflammation of the pancreas - Pancreatitis

How do you get mumps?

You catch mumps by being in close contact with someone who already has the infection. The virus is passed in the secretions of the infected person’s nose and throat and is spread by their sneezing, coughing and kissing. Also, it is possible to catch mumps from direct contact with articles which have been contaminated by the saliva of an infected person eg. hankies.

How do you prevent contracting mumps?

  • By avoiding close personal contact with a person with mumps if you are at risk.
  • By immunisation - there is a safe and effective vaccine, which protects against mumps. It is one of the “M” components in MMR vaccine and a child needs two doses of this vaccine, usually at 13 - 15 months and another dose pre-school.
    • Protection can be life long.
    • If a child or young adult has not received 2 doses of MMR vaccine, this can be given at any age.
    • As mumps vaccine is a “live” vaccine, vaccination is not recommended in children who have a weakened immune system e.g. because of immune-suppressing medication or chemotherapy. These children are particularly vulnerable and should avoid contact whenever possible.

What should I do?

To reduce the risk of developing mumps, it is advised by the Health Protection Agency (www.hpa.org.uk - opens in a new window) that if you are not immune you should receive the MMR vaccination at your earliest opportunity by speaking to your NHS Doctor (General Practitioner).

 

If you have not yet registered with a GP please do so. A list of doctors is available from the Students' Union - list of GP's - opens in a new window.

If I have symptoms, should I stay away from classes/work?

Is it advisable not to attend University or work until 10 days after the onset of swelling. Please consult your GP who will be able to offer advice on treatment and care.

Mumps is infectious for 2 – 7 days before the facial swelling first occurs and for approximately 9 - 10 days after the appearance of the symptoms. General advice is to stay away from the University for at least 5 days after symptoms first develop. You should confirm this with your GP.

The incubation period (time between infection and the onset of symptoms) is between 14 – 21 days.

Further information

Why not visit the NHS Direct Choices website (opens in a new window) for some excellent resources and help guidance.

For more information on immunisation and the mumps infection visit the following site:

 
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