STUDENTS and young adults who are unsure if they’ve had two doses of the MMR vaccine to protect against mumps, are reminded they can safely get an additional dose free of charge.
The Department of Public Health, HSE South is recommending this course of action due to an ongoing outbreak of mumps in Cork and Kerry over recent weeks.
Most cases are teenagers and young adults, occurring among those aged 15-24 years of age. The highest numbers of cases are in those aged 18-19 years of age. In Cork and Kerry, the HSE have noted that many of the cases are among young people attending third level institutions. A case was reported in Schull community school earlier this year.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite followed by swelling of salivary (and sometimes other) glands.
Dr Augustine Pereira, director of public health, HSE South advised that vaccination with the MMR vaccine is the only way to protect against mumps, and added that the two scheduled doses of MMR are estimated to protect about 88% of individuals.
‘We are therefore advising that all students and young adults (including young teachers) should ensure that they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. The vaccine can be obtained free of charge from your GP or student health service. Everyone should avoid contact with someone who has mumps infection, and of course we urge everyone to continue with regular hand washing,’ she said.
To find out your vaccination record see https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/whoweare/requestrecord.html