A CITY GP, who is diagnosing three cases of mumps a week on average, has warned that Cork is at the centre of a “significant outbreak”.
Dr Nick Flynn, of Union Quay and MyCorkGP.ie, was speaking after an email sent to students at Cork Institute of Technology revealed that a number of mumps cases have been detected on campus in recent days.
In the email, Dan Collins, academic administration & student affairs manager at CIT, said: “A number of confirmed cases of mumps have been reported in Cork and more specifically, within the Institute.
“Please be advised that information has been provided by the medical centre.
“If you feel unwell or suspect you may be affected by this illness, please telephone your GP for additional advice,” he added.
In a statement to The Echo, Dr Collins said: “CIT are proactively creating awareness amongst our students and staff with this email while at the same time protecting the confidentiality and right to privacy of those affected.”
Speaking to The Echo about the noted increase in mumps cases in Cork and across Ireland in recent months, Dr Flynn said: “We are in the middle of a significant outbreak in Cork at the moment.
“I am diagnosing on average three patients per week for the last four weeks.
“There is an outbreak in CIT,” he added.
Dr Flynn stressed that mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease and he encouraged anyone between the ages of 10 and 30 to avail of the free MMR booster through their GP.
“The HSE has sanctioned this free booster for people in these age groups and, irrespective of previous vaccine history, I’d recommend all patients to have the booster,” he said.
“Immunity can wane even if you’ve had two MMR boosters in the past.
“It’s a simple, safe vaccine with very few contraindications — we don’t give it to pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems as it is a live vaccine — which will stop the spread of mumps in the community,” he added.
A recent study carried out by the HSE’s Mumps Outbreak Control Team found that almost 4,000 cases of mumps have been reported in Ireland over the past 18 months or so, mainly among young people.
Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that usually affects children.