More Students Are Hit by Mumps Epidemic as Cases Rise Tenfold; OUTBREAKS NATIONWIDE AS DOCTORS OPEN EMERGENCY CLINICS

Article excerpt

Byline: REBECCA SMITH

THERE are fears of a mumps epidemic today as another group of students was hit by the potentially fatal disease.

There have been five confirmed and 21 suspected cases of mumps reported at Kingston University in the last month. It follows an outbreak- among medical students at King's College London in December.

Cases of mumps have risen at least tenfold since 1999, despite the introduction of the controversial measles, mumps and rubella vaccination 11 years earlier.

In the first nine months of last year there were 3,756 cases of mumps compared with only 372 in 1999. The rise has been seen in teens and students who were too old to be offered the MMR jab but did have the measles and rubella injection. This left them vulnerable to mumps, which has spread as these groups mix in schools and universities.

Outbreaks have occurred across the country in the last year, mostly in colleges, and medics

have been holding emergency vaccination clinics to prevent an epidemic.

Mumps is more dangerous for adults as it is more likely to cause complications such as meningitis, possible sterility in men and deafness.

In the latest outbreak, medics in Kingston have offered the MMR vaccination to hundreds but others are still being advised to have the vaccination.

Dr Emma Crawley-Boevey, consultant in communicable disease control at the south-west London health protection unit, said: "We are working closely with Kingston University to help prevent further cases of mumps. …