PUBLIC Health experts are warning parents to get their children vaccinated with the MMR jab as cases of Mumps in the city soar.
With a staggering 108 confirmed cases in Greater Glasgow from January to March 2004 (compared to only seven in the whole of 2003 and one to two cases annually in several years previous to that), health chiefs say that although the illness is mainly affecting teenagers and young adults, they are worried it will spread to children and babies.
Dr Syed Ahmed, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "The upsurge in cases of Mumps has largely affected the 16-24 age group, but we desperately need parents of youngsters from the age of 13 months to get their children vaccinated.
"This illness is preventable so we need to take immediate action. Unless younger children are protected with the MMR vaccine, sooner or later the current Mumps outbreak will affect this age group as well."
Dr Ahmed went on to explain that 16-24-year-olds are particularly susceptible, as they didn't receive the Mumps jab as a routine vaccination. Before the introduction of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) jab in 1988, the Mumps jab was not given to children in the UK.
The Public Health Consultant added: "We've advised all GPs across NHS Greater Glasgow to check the immunisation history of young adults born prior to 1988 and to offer the MMR jab to those who haven't yet had it."
So what is Mumps and what are its symptoms?
Mumps is a disease caused by a virus that usually spreads through saliva or droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person. It can infect many parts of the body, especially the parotid salivary glands.
These glands, which produce saliva for the mouth, are found in the area between the ear and jaw. In cases of mumps, these glands typically swell and become painful.
The symptoms vary from person to person but can include:
· A temperature of up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius);
· Loss of appetite;
· Swelling and pain in the glands, making the cheeks look puffy;
· Swelling under the tongue, under the jaw, or all the way down to the front of the chest;
· inflammation of the testicles;
· Pain and tenderness in parts of the abdomen when ovaries are inflamed.
Dr Syed Ahmed went on: "We must stress that Mumps can also have serious consequences, including Meningitis, Encephalitis and permanent deafness.
"We are therefore urging parents to ensure that their children receive the MMR - a vaccine that is currently being used in every developed country in the Western World - as soon as possible."
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