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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Students urged to have mumps jab
Doctors say students should get the MMR jab as soon as possible
Students in Glasgow have been urged to get vaccinated against mumps after health chiefs admitted a "disturbingly high" number of cases in the city.

Freshers in particular have been encouraged to register with a GP to receive the MMR immunisation.

Health officials have identified young people as being most at risk of catching the contagious condition.

This is due to age and because of the close contact with others at university and college.

Public health consultant Dr Syed Ahmed warned: "Cases of mumps are at such disturbingly high levels here in Glasgow just now, and students are the most at risk.

"It's vital you get the MMR and so, for this and for other reasons, you must register with a local GP."

I would advise anyone who hasn't had two doses of MMR to go immediately to their GP and get immunised
Dr Syed Ahmed

Doctors describe mumps as a "mild to moderate" illness, but it has been known to lead to more serious conditions such as meningitis.

Sufferers can be left deaf and the illness can result in miscarriages for pregnant women.

Symptoms of the illness include painful swollen glands, fever, headache and stomach pains.

Figures from NHS Greater Glasgow show that the number of cases is down on last year but still remains high.

There were just 13 cases in the area in 2003, compared to 685 the following year. So far this year there have been 293.

Vaccination programme

Many 17 to 24-year-olds have not had the MMR jab as the vaccination programme was gradually introduced from 1988, meaning some children missing out on one or both injections.

Doctors said living conditions at colleges and university are an ideal place for the speedy spread of the condition.

"I remember from my own university days that students are often living cheek by jowl, and this can mean that once one person catches an illness, it can spread pretty easily," Dr Ahmed said.

"We're seeing this happen with mumps among young people right now."

He added: "I would advise anyone who hasn't had two doses of MMR to go immediately to their GP and get immunised."

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