|Typical mumps swelling.|
I've written about this a lot - which isn't all that surprising given that our lab is one of a handful working on the virus - but mumps has struck again, this time raising it's head in Scotland. Here's a nice article.
The University of Glasgow has experienced more than the usual (a handful probably) of cases of mumps infection. Currently 15 students have been diagnosed with the virus which usually causes swollen salivary glands under the neck, although a number of more serious symptoms can result. The University is working closely with the community control the outbreak and to vaccinate those unprotected.
A worrying thing is that we know that at most, 50% of people infected with mumps fail to show any discernible symptoms, thus those 15 could be 30 and by the time any effort was mounted to stop the virus those 30 could rapidly double, triple or even more.
This is most likely explained by the fact that these places are quite big university cities packed full of 18-25 year olds, the new epidemiological groups the virus attacks now. If you went back in time in the UK to the 70's/80's mumps mainly affected young children (3-5 years old) yet now it is found in undergraduates.
The reason why probably lies with the fact that these people lack the required levels of immunity to fend off the virus. Many may not have received any doses of the MMR vaccine while another load may have only gotten a single dose. Although we can't be sure of the numbers and probably many who got mumps may have got the recommended double MMR injections, but that's another story.
Just be aware of the symptoms and get vaccinated so we never have to worry about mumps outbreaks again.
Related posts on mumps: