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expert reaction to PHE data on mumps outbreaks across England

Public Health England have announced that mumps cases in the UK have reached the highest number in a decade.


Dr David Elliman, Consultant in Community Child Health, said:

“The reasons for the increase in mumps is complex.  The mumps component of the MMR is less effective and the protection is known to wear off.  Many of the people who are developing mumps now were due to have the vaccine when the scare about MMR was at its height.  It is not a reflection of current uptake rates.  It is never too late to have the vaccine.  If someone is not sure whether they have had two doses of vaccine, they should go to their GP.  No harm will come if they have extra doses.”


Prof Helen Bedford, Professor of Child Public Health, UCL, said:

“It is of concern that we are seeing large numbers of cases of mumps.  These are mainly occurring among older teens and young adults who either had no doses of MMR vaccine when they were young or only had one dose.  However, we also know that the immunity from mumps vaccine can wane over time.  This means you can still get mumps even if fully vaccinated; although mumps can be nasty especially in people past puberty, it is usually much milder in previously vaccinated people, so the best way to avoid mumps is to get the vaccine.  If you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s never too late to have the MMR vaccine.  Two doses are needed for best protection.”


Declared interests

Prof Helen Bedford: “No conflicts of interest.”

None others declared.

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