Universities and Colleges Ingripof Mumps Epidemic; Call for Urgent Vaccination Programme Following a 35-Fold Surge in Cases in One Year
Byline: VIC RODRICK
A MUMPS epidemic is raging among college and university students.
A total of 1,666 cases were reported to Scots health authorities in 2004 - a 35-fold increase on the 47 confirmed in 2003.
At least 2,000 further unconfirmed cases brought the total for the year to almost 4,000, most of them students.
The figures, obtained by the Scottish Mail on Sunday, prompted urgent calls for mass immunisation of 13 to 25-year-olds as concerns grow that many are vulnerable because they did not receive the controversial MMR vaccine in early life.
Independent MSP Dr Jean Turner claimed the crisis had been sparked by a lack of funding for NHS boards.
She has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the Executive to ensure financial constraints on NHS boards do not prevent GPs immunising the 'at risk' group.
The former GP said: ' Some people born between 1984 and 1987 got a single dose of MMR and others didn't.
'This means that many people now coming into the 17-20 age group and going to university or college are not protected against potentially very serious infections which spread very rapidly.' She added: 'You don't get as many tragedies nowadays because these viruses have not been around in recent years, but there will be a lot of disappointed and heartbroken families when things do go wrong. …