THERE has been a ten-fold increase in the expected number of cases of mumps in Lanarkshire since the start of the year.
Now NHS Lanarkshire’s public health team is reminding people aged between 20-35 to get both doses of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination if they have not already done so.
There have been 31 cases since January 7, compared to an average of around 3-4 per month.
The majority of the cases are males aged between 20 and 35, although some are older, and most reside in the Cumbernauld and Clydesdale areas – around Lanark and Biggar.
All Lanarkshire GPs have been notified of the increase in mumps cases.
Dr David Cromie, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health medicine, said: “Mumps is a viral disease, usually experienced during childhood, but people of any age can be affected if they have not had the illness before or have not been fully vaccinated.
“Symptoms can include fever, headache, swelling of one or both cheeks or sides of the jaw and swollen glands.
“It’s an infection that can have serious complications including affecting the brain and in very rare cases can lead to fatal complications.
“If you have any of the symptoms, contact your GP. Tests can be carried out to confirm the illness”
Mumps is spread through respiratory transmission from infected individuals.
“Treatment involves getting plenty of rest to allow your body’s natural immune system to fight the virus, and drinking plenty of water. However prevention is the best method.
Dr Cromie continued: “The MMR vaccine is the most effective way to protect against mumps. Two doses of the MMR vaccine provide up to a 90 per cent chance of protection.
“People who are currently between 20 and 35 years of age will tend not to have experienced natural mumps infection.
“So, unless they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, these people will be at a higher risk of suffering from mumps, particularly when the mumps illness is circulating in the community, as at present.
“Those who have had one dose of the MMR vaccine only need one more dose to complete the course.”
Anyone between 20 and 35 years of age who is unsure about their MMR vaccination history, should check with their GP surgery to see if they need the vaccine.
The MMR vaccine is routinely given to children aged 12 months and 3½ years of age. Completion rates for the two dose course at five years of age are over 95 per cent for NHS Lanarkshire.