There has been a surge of suspected mumps cases in Cardiff, with Public Health Wales (PHW) reporting 28 suspected cases.
There were similar case escalations throughout the UK earlier this year, including in Nottingham and Cardiff. In both cases, many of the mumps patients were students, who are likely to be particularly prone to infection.
Dr Rhianwen Stiff, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for PHW, has given advice for the public on reducing the spread of this infection: ‘It is important that people with suspected mumps keep away from university and social gatherings for five days after their symptoms start, wash their hands frequently and especially after blowing their nose and don’t share items such as water bottles or cigarettes with others’. Nurses should be aware of this advice and encourage adherence.
Uptake of the MMR vaccine is falling across the UK, along with uptake of all other childhood vaccinations. This is likely contributing to the recent spates of mumps cases, which are increasing in frequency. Public Health Wales is encouraging people to ensure that they have been vaccinated to try and curb the spread of this viral infection. Dr Stiff also advised that ‘Nurses in frontline care should ensure they have two documented doses of the MMR vaccine in order to protect themselves and their patients from measles, mumps and rubella’.