Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Jab call as mumps cases soar 40%

MMR vaccine being drawn into a syringe
A vaccination for mumps was introduced in 1988

Young people in Devon and Cornwall have been urged to check they have been vaccinated against mumps following a 40% increase in cases over six months.

Cases rose from 19 in the first half of 2008 to 27 in the second half.

The Health Protection Agency said young people aged between 19 and 29 would be at greatest risk.

The MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella was introduced in 1988 but before then there was no single vaccination for mumps.

Mumps is spread by coughs and sneezes and directly through close personal contact.

Symptoms include swelling on the angle of the jaw on one or both sides of the face.

Often there are several earlier days of symptoms which could include fever, headache, tiredness, muscle aches and loss of appetite.

Anyone with the symptoms has been advised to consult their GP and stay away from school or work until five days after the start of the swelling when they would be no longer infectious.

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