There has been a dramatic rise in reported cases of mumps, particularly in teenagers and young adults across London, public health officials warned. Public Health England (PHE), alongside the NHS, are investigating after nearly 450 cases were reported between January 1 and May 30 this year. This is an increase of 150 cases compared to the same five month period in 2016. Across West London; The City of Westminster had the lowest infection rate with only 8 cases, with 15 reported in Kensington and Chelsea.
This news comes in tandem with data that shows that cases of measles have also sky-rocketed in London and the South East last year, reaching the highest number since the last outbreak in 2012 (which saw 3,873 cases across England and Wales). There were a total of 60 cases recorded in 2016 (there were 382 in 2012) compared to just four in 2015. London and the South West were the only two regions to record more cases of the viral infection last year.
The upturn in both mumps and measles can be traced to the falling numbers of children undergoing the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. The World Health Organisation has set a target of 95 per cent, but vaccination rates have fallen to 91.9%. This recent fall has followed years of broadly rising coverage since the MMR controversy, when the vaccine was linked to autism in a now-discredited paper in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield.