PEOPLE living in Wyre are being urged to ensure they are vaccinated after a dramatic increase in the number of mumps cases.

There have been 75 cases of the infectious illness in the last three months - compared to just seven in the first six months of this year.

The 'highly unusual' statistic has prompted a renewed drive for vaccination, especially for 16 to 25 year olds.

"The majority of these possible mumps cases were among young people who have not been vaccinated," said Kevin McKeown, director of public health for Wyre.

"They missed out on mumps vaccination, which is given as part of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination, and had no protection.

"It is absolutely vital therefore that all parents are persuaded to have their children vaccinated from the earliest months of life.

"Most parents do exactly that, and their children gain the benefits. However, some parents clearly underestimate the dangers from infectious diseases.

"I would ask them to reconsider and make sure that all children are given the full course of vaccinations."

The vaccination campaign is particularly aimed at people studying at college and university who are mixing with large numbers of their peers.

Mumps can cause fever, headaches, swelling and tenderness of the glands, as well as running noses, sore throats and ears.

It can also lead to more serious complications, including a mild form of meningitis, ear infections and inflammation of the pancreas.

Mr McKeown added: "Too few young people have responded to the campaign. I would encourage young people in the 16 to 25 year old age group to be vaccinated.

"Ideally, young people would be given two vaccinations for mumps, but some protection is offered even by a single dose."

Anyone requiring a vaccination should contact their GP.