Wicklow teens urged to get MMR jab as mumps cases surge 500%
Cases of mumps in teens and young adults have shot up in the last 12 months and Wicklow people are being advised to get a free dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in an effort to protect themselves and contain the outbreak.
Last year saw a 500% rise in the reported case of mumps compared to a year earlier and is still increasing with more cases reported already this year.
It has led to the Health Service Executive (HSE) calling on anyone aged between 11 and 30 years of age who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine, or who are unsure of their vaccine status, to avail of the offer of a free dose.
Dr Suzanne Cotter of the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre said in a statement today: “Children aged 11-18 and adults aged up to 30 have been particularly affected by the mumps outbreak so it is vital that parents and young adults are aware that the MMR vaccine is the only way to stop the spread of mumps.”
“Secondary schools and third level institutions have seen the highest incidences of mumps. During 2019 the number of mumps cases continued to rise and we saw 2,762 cases compared with 573 cases the previous year.
“To date in 2020, 253 cases have already been notified to the HSE.
“Vaccination with MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against mumps. The vaccine also protects against measles and rubella. In Ireland, the first MMR dose is given at 12 months of age, and the second dose at 4-5 years of age.
“Parents must make sure that their children and teenagers are protected against mumps by ensuring they have been immunised with two doses of MMR. A third dose of MMR won’t cause any harm so anyone unsure of whether they have had two doses or not can safely receive the vaccine again.
Mumps is a highly infectious and dangerous illness which spreads very easily, particularly in homes, crèches, playgroups, camps, schools and universities and can have life changing repercussions in some instances.
Dr Cotter has this advice to people: “Parents and young adults should speak with their GP or student health service and get the vaccine free of charge for their child or themselves if needed.”