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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Mumps cases grow to 208 this year
Mumps jab
People are urged to have mumps immunisation jabs
Cases of mumps have grown from 80 in 2004 to 208 in the first eight months of this year, according to figures from the Suffolk Health Protection Unit.

Doctors say the growth affects the 16 to 25 age group because the MMR vaccine is only 80% effective for mumps.

Many newly infected people had MMR vaccine as children.

They now need a booster jab to maintain immunity to mumps which is not regarded as serious but can be uncomfortable as it attacks the saliva glands.

Catch up campaign

In extreme cases mumps can lead to hearing impairment and it is related to other conditions which cause meningitis and swelling of testes in men and ovaries in women.

The Suffolk Health Protection Unit is recommending that people who may be exposed to the condition by not being immunised or receiving the jab some time ago should have a booster.

In their quarterly newsletter Germ warfare the editor Dr Torbjorn Sundkvist said: "Mumps was one of the most common infectious diseases, with around 50,000 cases per year, until the combined MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988.

"There was a 'catch up' campaign of measles and rubella vaccine in 1994, but not one for mumps.

"Because of fears of a link between MMR and autism there has been a slow decrease in the take-up of the immunisation."

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