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Mumps vaccine for teenagers

There have been a lot of cases of mumps among students in recent years. School leavers and other young adults need to be fully vaccinated before they start college.

In 2013, there were 4,035 cases of mumps in England and Wales. Most of these were students in universities and colleges.

Teen risk of mumps

Teenagers and adults in their early 20s are at higher risk of mumps. This is because many were too old to be routinely vaccinated with the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella vaccine) when it was first introduced in the UK in 1988, or they only received one dose of MMR instead of the recommended two.

Once unprotected teenagers go to college, they're at higher risk of catching mumps as the disease can spread quickly when so many young people are living and studying together.

Symptoms of mumps

Mumps is a virus that's spread through saliva. Symptoms may begin with a headache and fever. The glands in the neck then swell up, which can make it difficult to talk, eat or drink.

The disease can be very serious. Complications can include swelling of the ovaries and testicles, infertility, meningitis and deafness.

Teens who should have the MMR vaccination

Cases of mumps have been high since 2004. They peaked in 2005, when more than 43,000 cases were reported to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Numbers may rise again in the next few years if people who aren't vaccinated, or only partially vaccinated, with MMR don't get the vaccine.

School leavers and young adults who haven't received MMR vaccination as a child, or only received one dose, should go to their GP or college doctor and get the vaccination straight away.

Last Updated: 17/02/2022 16:06:41
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website