Advice for teenagers and young adults in London as mumps figures increase

Public Health England (PHE) is reminding teenagers and young adults in London to be alert to symptoms of mumps following a rise in the number of cases reported in the capital. There have been nearly 450 cases of mumps reported so far this year, which is an increase of nearly 150 cases compared to the same period in 2016. PHE, together with NHS England, is investigating the increase in reported cases, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

Mumps is most recognisable by painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears. PHE’s advice to anyone who suspects that they or a family member has mumps is that they stay away from school or college and social gatherings for five days after the glands swell, and that any student who is unsure if they have had two MMR vaccinations, contact their GP to arrange a catch-up MMR vaccine.

PHE also encourages parents to check that their child has had two doses of the vaccination, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Director for PHE in London said:

“Mumps can spread quickly from person to person and we often see cases in close knit communities such as schools, universities and colleges. 

“Symptoms usually begin with a headache and fever, followed by a swelling of the glands in the neck. A lthough most people usually recover from mumps without treatment, in some cases it can cause complications such as inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, and in rare cases, meningitis and deafness.”

“We are encouraging teenagers and young adults who are not sure if they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine to speak to their GP as soon as possible    and arrange a catch-up MMR vaccine. 

“Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect against mumps, especially when we know it is circulating in the community. Vaccination prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and even if a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.

“The MMR vaccination also protects against two more serious illnesses German measles (rubella) and measles".