Students urged to get MMR vaccine

Students at two of the North West's biggest universities are being urged to be vaccinated

47 students at the University of Central Lancashire and another 35 at the University of Manchester have all been diagnosed with mumps since February.

Dr. Sam Ghebrehewet, HPA North West Immunisation lead, said: "Mumps is an ever-present risk in universities and further education colleges. It is an infectious disease that spreads easily amongst young adults who missed out on the protection of two doses of MMR vaccine when they were children.

"Two doses of the MMR vaccine are necessary for full protection. We are encouraging students who aren’t sure if they were fully vaccinated as children to check with their GPs and arrange to be immunised if necessary. This is particularly important with exam time approaching. It would be unfortunate if students were to miss exams because of illness."

Although the advice is primarily aimed at students, Dr. Ghebrehewet points out that everybody under the age of 25 should check to ensure that they were given two doses of MMR as children:  "Mumps is not confined to universities and colleges and anybody who has not been fully vaccinated can be at risk.

"A further benefit of MMR vaccine is that it gives protection against measles and rubella" Dr. Ghebrehewet added.

Mumps is a viral illness. Symptoms include swelling of the neck glands, fever and headache.  Sometimes complications of mumps result, including meningitis and deafness.  

"Anyone with symptoms of mumps should stay off work, university or school for at least five days to avoid spreading the disease and should seek medical advice before returning" Dr. Ghebrehewet said.

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