18/02/2020 - An Increase In The Cases Of Mumps In England

18/02/2020 - An Increase In The Cases Of Mumps In England

Friday 3rd Apr 2020

18 February 2020

Our Public Health team are recommending that children and young people who may have missed out on protection from Mumps should receive a catch-up MMR vaccination. In England there has been a significant rise in the number of cases of Mumps this year.

The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) shows that there were 5,042 lab-confirmed cases of mumps in England in 2019, compared to 1,066 cases in 2018. This is the highest number of cases since 2009. 

The steep rise in cases in 2019 has been largely driven by outbreaks in universities and colleges. Many of the cases in 2019 were young adults born in the late nineties and early 2000s who missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were children. 

In Cheshire East our uptake was under 80% for the second dose in the early 2000’s, more than 15 percent below the figure required for group immunity. These cohorts are now old enough to attend college and university and are likely to continue fuelling outbreaks into 2020.

Mumps is a viral illness caused by a paramyxovirus. Mumps can be caught through direct contact with saliva or droplets from the saliva of an infected person.

Symptoms of Mumps

Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swellings in the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), giving a person with mumps a distinctive "hamster face" appearance.

Other symptoms of mumps include headaches, joint pain and a high temperature, which may develop a few days before the swelling of the parotid glands (salivary).

Mumps is rarely fatal but complications include swelling of the ovaries (oophoritis), swelling of the testes (orchitis) which has the potential to cause infertility, aseptic meningitis and deafness.


Children and young people can be prevented from catching mumps. In the UK children receive two doses of the combined measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule. These doses are usually given when the child is around one year old and when the child is around 3 years and 4 months old. 

Uptake has improved locally in recent years with most practices achieving between 90-95 percent for the first dose, however in some towns there are still more than 10 percent of children who have not had both doses of MMR before they start school.

For more information from PHE about Mumps visit their website.