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Number of mumps cases in 2019 four times higher than last year

The HSE said has said the increase in numbers is linked to the spread of misinformation about vaccines on social media.
Dec 10th 2019, 11:13 AM 9,695 83

THE NUMBER OF reported mumps cases is four times higher now than it was at the end of last year, according to new figures.

Figures from the Department of Health reveal there have been 2,472 cases of mumps reported over the last year. This compares to 573 cases at the end of 2018.

The highest number of these cases (1,126) were in the HSE East area, with the lowest (84) in the south area.

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 Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that usually affects children. The most common symptom if a swelling of the salivary glands. In recent years there has been a rise in the incidents of mumps, particularly among teenagers and young adults. 

Warnings were issued to third level students in Dublin in October after an increase in mumps cases was reported as students returned to college.

In September, 69 cases were notified to HPSC compared to 56 notifications for the same time period in 2018. 

The HSE has said recent mumps epidemics mainly affected people who were never vaccinated with the MMR vaccine or may have only received one dose. 

Last month, the HSE’s assistant national director of health protection, Dr Kevin Kelleher linked increasing case numbers with the spread of misinformation about vaccines on social media. 

Kelleher said encouraging people to get vaccines is a “difficult message” to get across.

The Health Minister Simon Harris also recently sat down with Facebook, Twitter and Google to discuss the measures they are taking to combat anti-vaccination misinformation on their platforms.

Vaccine hesitancy has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of the 10 leading threats to global health this year.

- With reporting by Christina Finn. 

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