PARENTS are being urged to make sure their children are vaccinated against mumps after a spate of cases.
There have been 19 confirmed cases of the infectious illness in East Lancashire since September 2012 and schools including Shuttleworth College, Padiham, are now encouraging mums and dads to check that their youngsters have had the recommended two MMR vaccines.
Bob Wakefield, headteacher at the Burnley Road College, told parents in a newsletter there had been “several cases” at the school.
He said: “We have been advised by the school nurse to ask parents and carers to check with their GPs if their child has been given the MMR immunisation in order to prevent the spread of this unpleasant virus both within college and the local community.”
The usual symptoms of mumps are a painful inflammation and swelling of the salivary glands under one or both sides of the jaw, fever and headache.
On rare occasions complications of mumps can cause inflammation of the pancreas, viral meningitis and inflamed and swollen testicles in men and ovaries in women.
Mumps can also cause deafness and very rarely it can be fatal.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “Due to recent outbreaks in some areas of Lancashire we are encouraging parents to ensure that their children are up to date with their MMR vaccinations.”
Dr Nigel Calvert, from the Cumbria and Lancashire Public Health England Centre, added: “Mumps is always a risk in secondary schools, universities and further education colleges because it spreads easily amongst teenagers and young adults who missed out on the protection of two doses of MMR vaccine when they were children. We are encouraging people who aren’t sure if they were fully vaccinated as children to check with their GPs and arrange to be immunised if necessary.”
Anyone who suspects they may have mumps should contact their doctor or by call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.