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Mumps cases at highest level in a decade, show new figures

Public Health England (PHE) has urged eligible patients to get vaccinated against measles and mumps after a high number of cases.

PHE confirmed last week that there were 2,028 cases of mumps in England in the second quarter of 2019, the ‘highest quarterly’ data since 2009. 

This comes as the UK has been recently deemed second worst in Europe for vaccinating against measles

Figures published by PHE showed 301 new measles infections between April and June 2019 compared to 231 in the first quarter. 

Some 2,028 cases of mumps were seen in the second quarter of this year as opposed to 795 in the previous quarter.

Experts said the rise in mumps diagnosis has been largely driven by outbreaks in unvaccinated university students, with almost half of the cases this quarter alone going unvaccinated. 

PHE head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said: ‘Although it is normal to see mumps outbreaks in universities every few years, we are seeing a significant number of cases, the highest quarterly figure since 2009.

‘Coupled with the continued measles outbreaks these figures clearly demonstrate the need for sustained high vaccination rates.’

He added: ‘We’re urging parents and their children, no matter how old they are, to check they’ve had 2 doses of MMR. Measles is easy to catch and can kill. Vaccines are there to stop the spread of disease and save lives.

‘It’s never too late to protect yourself and others.’

Last year, NHS Digital found the number of children getting the MMR vaccine dropped to its lowest level since 2011/12.

Recent research showed that the fear of potential side effects was the main reason behind people choosing not to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, GPs will receive an extra £5 per child aged 10-11 for the MMR vaccine as part of the new five-year contract for general practice.