MMR is a vaccination given in two doses, usually before the age of five. If students had only one dose – or missed out altogether – they will not be protected against measles, mumps and rubella.
Although statistics in Kent and Medway show no recent increase, elsewhere in the country there was a marked increase in the number of laboratory confirmed cases of measles and mumps between April and June.
Nationally, there were 930 laboratory confirmed cases of mumps, compared to 468 between January and March. Most were in young adults born between 1980 and 1994, a period when some children did not receive a second dose of MMR.
There were also 667 confirmed cases of measles during this quarter, compared to 295 in the previous quarter, with 81 per cent of the cases in children and adolescents.
Dr Faiza Khan, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for NHS Kent and Medway said: “Measles and mumps are serious illnesses that can spread rapidly in colleges and universities and can be very unpleasant. Occasionally, patients develop complications including pneumonia and deafness.
“The best protection is two doses of the MMR vaccine so we would urge young people – or their parents – to check that they have had all their vaccinations and if not, to make an appointment at their GP practice to complete them. If they do not have time to visit their GP before they leave home, they should still contact their surgery to find out if their vaccinations are up-to-date. If they need the MMR vaccine, they should arrange this when they register with a doctor at their university or college”.
For further information, contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhs.uk.
11 September 2012