Patients aged between 11 – 30 can now get a free mumps vaccine from Hazelhill Family Practice. The HSE is offering this vaccine to anyone in that age group who has not had two doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, as well as those who are unsure if they were vaccinated.
Mumps have been on the rise over the past couple of years. Already more than 250 cases around the country have been notified to the HSE in the first few weeks of 2020. In fact, the HSE says that the national mumps outbreak, which began in 2018 has resulted in more that 3,500 cases across Ireland.
Secondary schools and colleges/ universities have recorded the highest incidence of the disease. Of those who have contracted mumps in 2020, 37% were aged 15 – 19, while 35% were in the 20 – 24 age group.
Mumps is a highly infectious disease that can be easily spread. In fact it can be passed from person to person through direct contact with saliva or droplets from the mouth, nose or throat. That means it can be picked up from:
- Close contact (such as playing sports, dancing or kissing)
- Sharing items that have been contaminated (eg. water bottles)
- Touching items or surfaces which have been contaminated with the virus.
This illustrates how simple it is to contract the virus in group settings such as classrooms, creches, playgroups, sporting facilities and elsewhere.
Mumps can be a very serious illness, which can have life changing repercussions in some cases. Although very rare, this can include hearing loss. More common complications do include swelling of the testicles, drop in sperm count, swollen ovaries, pancreatitis and viral meningitis.
Syptoms of Mumps
Symptoms of mumps include:
- Muscle ache
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen jaw or cheeks.
The infectious period can last from about 3 days before swelling of the salivary glands to approximately 5 days after.
Vaccination is the only effective way to prevent contracting mumps. The recommendation is that everyone should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine.
The vaccine is being provided for free to anyone from Ballyhaunis aged between 11 – 30 who has not had two vaccine doses, or to those who are unsure of their vaccine dosage. An additional dose will not cause any harm so anyone who is unsure of their vaccine history can safely receive another dose.