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Rate of mumps infection declined significantly in April due to Covid restrictions

A spike in the number of people presenting with the highly infectious condition started in late 2018.

Image: Shutterstock/PhotosByTowat

AN OUTBREAK OF the mumps in Ireland has significantly declined due to restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has said. 

A spike in the number of people presenting with the highly infectious condition started in late 2018 but this declined in early April 2020 as a result of measures introduced in Ireland in response to Covid-19. 

More than 2,700 cases of the disease were reported last year, compared with 573 cases in 2018. 

This year, the HSE was notified of spikes in the rate of infection at the start of February. This trend continued until lockdown measures were put in place in March.

Around 91% of children in Ireland have received one dose of the MMR vaccine by 24 months of age, according to the HSE. However, this is below the target of 95% to prevent cases of measles and mumps outbreaks.

Screenshot 2020-05-25 at 5.43.46 PM A graph showing weekly infections so far this year. Source: HSE

The HSE said that the spike seen in one of the last weekly entries in the graph above is down to the late reporting of statistics.  

It said the spread of vaccine misinformation has been to blame for the reduced number of children receiving the MMR vaccine, which also works to protect against measles and rubella. It was introduced in Ireland in 1985.

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Mumps is spread between people by coughing and sneezing and can be transmitted through direct contact with saliva. Symptoms include fever, headache and painful swollen salivary glands.

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