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Independents' Day

Teenagers worst hit by surge in mumps

The number of mumps cases in Wales has soared more than five-fold in a year, official figures reveal. There have been 323 laboratory-confirmed cases so far this year compared with 64 in the whole of last year and just two in 1999.

England has also seen a rise, with cases up from 420 last year to 786 so far this year.

Dr Roland Salmon, consultant epidemiologist at the Cardiff Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, said under-reporting meant the true number of cases this year was probably over 1,000.

Most cases have been among teenagers, who are at highest risk because they were too old to receive two doses of MMR in the routine schedule ­ but young enough to have grown up during a period of low mumps incidence, escaping infection in childhood.

Dr Salmon said low MMR uptake ­ just 78.1 per cent in Wales ­ meant the potential for outbreaks among younger children was very high.

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