Mumps breakout: Rates of DEADLY viral infection on rise - even in VACCINATED adults

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that has traditionally been associated with children.

However it’s possible to develop it when you are older - and rates in adults are on the rise.

In the UK there have been spikes in recent years, according to Public Health England figures, while in the United States cases last year reached their highest for a decade.

Most worryingly, the majority of recent sufferers in the US, who tended to be between 18 and 22 years, had received the recommended two doses of mumps vaccine in childhood.

In the UK, the vaccine to protect against mumps - known as MMR because it also protects against measles and rubella - is given to babies within a month of their first birthday, and then again before starting school.

According to the NHS, since the vaccine was introduced in 1988 it has been rare for children to develop these conditions.

But immunity wanes over time, and it is thought recent US outbreaks of mumps may have overcome the vaccine because people had sufficient exposure to sufficient quantities of virus. 

In recent years there have been concerns that a number of young adults in the UK are being infected.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Public Health England and the NHS were investigating a dramatic rise in teenagers and young adults across London suffering.

There were 450 reported cases between January 1st and May 30th this year - 150 more than in 2016.

It is thought that falling numbers of children having the MMR vaccine might be to blame.

The World Health Organisation target is 95 per cent, but rates are 91.9 per cent.

Suggestions that the vaccine is linked to autism - put forward in a now-discredited 1998 study - is thought to be responsible.

Rising rates of mumps are a particularly concerning prospect since complications could prove potentially fatal.

According to the NHS, in rare cases people can develop encephalitis, a deadly infection of the brain, while one in 20,000 people experience permanent hearing loss.

Sufferers may more commonly experience swollen testicles, swollen ovaries, viral meningitis or pancreatitis.

Symptoms of mumps in adults include discomfort in the salivary glands, difficulty chewing, fever, headache, muscle aches and tiredness.

The condition can be spread via droplets of saliva or mucus during coughing or sneezing. 



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