Alert over mumps rise

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HEALTH chiefs in Wigan are warning people to be on the lookout for symptoms of mumps following a reported rise in cases.

The virus causes painful swelling of the salivary glands but in adolescent males can cause infertility if not treated.

Wigan Borough’s Director of Public Health Dr Kate Ardern says: “We are aware of a few cases of mumps in the last few weeks but as yet there does not appear to be a major outbreak locally.

“However, there has been an increase in the number of cases across Greater Manchester so we remain vigilant.

“Mumps used to be a common infection among children and is most recognisable by the painful swelling on the side of the face under the ears.

“Other symptoms include headache, joint pain and a high temperature.

“Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu, it can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces.

“A person is most contagious one or two days before the symptoms appear and for five days afterwards.

“During this time it is important to prevent the spread of infection to others, particularly young people who have not been vaccinated.

“Whilst the infection is not usually serious, some of the symptoms can be similar to other types of infection such as glandular fever and tonsillitis so it is always best to check with your GP so they can either confirm or rule out mumps.

“To prevent mumps as well as measles and rubella we advise that parents ensure that their children are fully immunised with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

“The first immunisation is given at age 12 to 13 months with a booster given pre-school at around three to four years-old.”