Mumps is an infectious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to a wide range of complications, some very serious. These include meningitis and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Before the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988, more than 8 out of every 10 people in the UK developed mumps. Mumps used to cause about 1200 hospital admissions each year in England and Wales. It was the most common cause of both viral meningitis and acquired deafness in children.
After 2002 there was a big increase in confirmed mumps cases in the UK. This peaked in 2005, when there were over 40,000 cases of mumps in England and Wales. Smaller peaks occurred in 2009 (over 7500 cases) and 2013 (over 4000 cases). Most of the cases have been in teenagers and young adults who were too old to be offered the MMR vaccine when it was introduced in 1988, and also missed a second MMR dose when this was introduced in 1996. Many of the outbreaks have been in colleges and universities.
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Source: Public Health England and the Health Protection Agency archive