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17th Jan 2020

HSE issues warning after a large increase in mumps cases

Alan Loughnane

Mumps is a viral infection that can be contagious for over two weeks.

The HSE has issued a warning to schools and colleges following a widespread outbreak of mumps.

Last week alone there was 132 cases of mumps reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre with most of the cases reported in teenagers and young adults.

Mumps is an acute viral infection that is spread from person to person and can be a potentially serious disease for children and young adults.

Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, tiredness and swollen, tender salivary glands and often gives the appearance of swollen cheeks or jaw.

The HPSC has advised anyone with mumps symptoms to stay at home, not go to school or work and phone your GP and explain that you may have mumps.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the HSE’s Assistant National Director of Public Health, Dr Kevin Kelleher, said the spread of mumps has happened because a large portion of 15-30 year olds do not have full protection against mumps.

The best protection against mumps is to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine, however some people are not getting the vaccine or only getting one dose.

Once a person has become infected with mumps, it takes two to three weeks for the symptoms to appear. However an infected person can spread the infection even when they do not have any symptoms – the disease is contagious from seven days before and up to nine days after the onset of symptoms, according to Irish Health.