Mumps cases highest in decade

MUMPS cases have risen to the highest level in a decade according to data published by Public Health England (PHE).

Provisional data show a steep rise in lab-confirmed cases of mumps in England in 2019, with 5,042 cases compared to 1,066 in 2018. This is the highest number of cases since 2009. The rise in cases looks set to continue in 2020, with already 546 confirmed cases in January 2020 compared to 191 during the same period in 2019.

PHE says the rise in cases in 2019 has been largely driven by outbreaks in universities and colleges. It points out that many of the cases are among the so-called ‘Wakefield cohorts’ – young adults born in the late nineties and early 2000s who missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were children. These cohorts are now old enough to attend college and university and are likely to continue fueling outbreaks into 2020.

PHE and NHS England are urging people to ensure they have two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. An MMR catch-up programme for children aged 10 to 11 years old has been launched.

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary said: “The rise in mumps cases is alarming and yet another example of the long-term damage caused by anti-vax information.

“Our vaccine strategy will soon be published outlining how we will increase uptake, limit the spread of vaccine misinformation and ensure every child receives two doses of their MMR vaccination.”