Mumps Outbreak: Jan, 2020

There is currently a National Outbreak of Mumps with many cases being reported every week to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Most cases are teenagers and young adults, occurring among those aged 15–24 years. The highest numbers of cases are in those aged 18–19 years. All HSE regions of the country have been affected.

In Cork & Kerry, there has been an increase in the number of new cases reported to the HSE since December 2019,with many students attending university/third-level institutes/PLCs affected. For more information on the current situation, please visit the Health Protection Surveillance Centre website.

What is mumps?

Mumps is an acute viral disease. It is very infectious. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swelling of salivary (and sometimes other) glands.

How is mumps spread?

It is spread by direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose, or throat,such as:

  • coughing, sneezing, or talking
  • sharing items contaminated with saliva (water bottles or cups)
  • close-contact activities with others (playing sports, dancing, or kissing)
  • touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus

Infectious Period

About 3 days before swelling of salivary glands to approximately 5 days after.

How to Prevent Spread

  • A person with mumps should limit their contact with others while infectious and is advised not to attend work, school, college, university, or childcare during their infectious period (ie, for 5 days after onset of parotid swelling) in view of the possibility of transmitting virus to non-immune individuals.
  • All students and young adults (including young teachers) should ensure that they have had 2 doses of MMR vaccine (measles mumps rubella vaccine). The vaccine can be obtained FREE OF CHARGE from their GP or student health service.
  • Avoid contact with someone who has mumps infection
  • Regular hand washing

If Unsure of Vaccination History

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) does not recommend a third dose of MMR for those who have documentary evidence of having already received 2 doses.

However, anadditional dose won’t cause any harm, so anyone unsure of whether they have had 2 doses or notcan safely receive a dose of MMR vaccine.

Where Can I Get a Copy of My Vaccination Records?

Visit Request My Records for more information.