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Mumps cases in England rocket four-fold to highest point in a decade

Published on 14/02/20 at 12:34pm

The incidence of mumps in the England has reached its highest level in 10 years, prompting warnings from health officials for the public to ensure they and their children receive the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine in the interest of public health.

Last year there were 5,042 recorded cases of mumps in England, a staggering four-fold rise on the incidence of the disease in 2018.

This rise has been traced to lagging rates of MMR vaccination, with the most significant outbreaks occurring at universities and colleges. This indicates that a large proportion of the reported cases were in young adults who were born around the late 90s and early 2000s – a period which coincides with the infamous publishing of Andrew Wakefield’s now widely-debunked study linking the adoption of the MMR vaccine to an increased risk of autism.  

While Wakefield was ultimately struck off, but the impact of his illegitimate study remained; rates of vaccination fell to around 80% in the wake of its release, and is still used to justify anti-vaccine reasoning today.   

The rise also correlates to a rise in measles cases in the UK and around the world over the past few years. The UK lost its measles eradication status last year, after being declared free of the disease in 2017.

Matt Fellows

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