Parents and young people are being reminded of the importance of the MMR vaccination following an increase in the number of cases of mumps in young adults in Airedale and Bradford.

Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) reveal there were 15 cases of mumps notified in the district in the week ending August 19.

There were also four cases of measles reported in the same week.

Further figures from the HPA show that since the start of the year there have been 134 reports of mumps in Bradford and Airedale, with a total of 522 across West Yorkshire.

The age of people affected ranges from one to 70 years but the majority are in people aged 15 to 35, and particularly among college and university students.

In rare cases mumps can cause complications including hearing loss (usually temporary) and meningitis.

It can also reduce fertility in males.

Parents can protect their children, and adults can protect themselves, against measles, mumps and rubella by ensuring they have been immunised with two doses of MMR.

Shirley Brierley, pubic health consultant at NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said the MMR vaccine was the safest and most effective way of protecting children and young adults against what could be dangerous illnesses.

"We are continuing to see cases of mumps across Bradford and Airedale, especially in young adults, and we know that a particularly risky time is when students go to college or university," she said.

"It is important that all parents check that their children have had two doses of the MMR vaccination."


  • Mumps is a contagious viral infection that used to be common in children before the introduction of the MMR vaccination, being responsible for about 1,200 hospital admissions a year in England and Wales.
  • It is most recognis- able by the painful swellings located at the side of the face under the ears giving a person with mumps a distinctive ‘hamster face’ appearance.
  • Other symptoms include headache, joint pain and a high temperature.
  • Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu: inside infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and passed into the mouth or nose.