575 mumps cases reported in Cork and Kerry

575 mumps cases reported in Cork and Kerry
File photo. Photo credit Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A startling 575 cases of mumps have been reported in the Cork and Kerry region so far this year.

The figure is higher than the total number of mumps cases reported nationally in 2018, when 573 cases were identified.

According to new data published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 97 cases of the disease were reported around the country last week alone as part of a continuing national mumps outbreak, which first started back in 2018.

Most of the cases are being identified in teenagers and young adults.

Earlier this month, the Cork Institute of Technology confirmed that a number of cases of mumps had been identified among students attending the institute, while Davis College, Mallow also confirmed cases at the school.

Last year, 2,762 cases were reported around the country, with the latest figures showing 2,230 cases of mumps have already been reported nationally since the beginning of this year.

Mumps is considered a highly infectious and potentially dangerous illness, which is spread from person to person. 

Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness and swollen, tender salivary glands. Mumps can often give the appearance of swollen cheeks or jaw. There is no specific treatment for the illness. 

Mumps can be very serious, and complications can include viral meningitis which affects around 15 per cent of patients. Inflammation of the testicles Orchitis (testicular inflammation) occurs in around 25-50 per cent of males. Other complications can include inflammation of the brain or pancreas as well as deafness. 

According to the HPSC, teenagers and young adults in the 15-24 year age group are most at risk of mumps. 

The HSE has continued to stress that the MMR vaccine is the only way to stop the spread of the illness.

The vaccine also protects against measles and rubella.

In Ireland, the first MMR dose is given at 12 months of age, and the second dose at 4-5 years of age. It is estimated that around 91 per cent of children in Ireland have received one dose of MMR by 24 months of age, slightly below the target of 95 per cent to prevent cases and outbreaks.

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