HUGE RISE IN CASES OF MUMPS; More fall ill in 12 weeks than in all of 2013.
Byline: VIVIENNE AITKEN email@example.com
MORE Scots have got mumps in the first 12 weeks of this year than in the whole of 2013.
Health chiefs have seen 242 confirmed cases so far in 2015, compared to 239 in 12 months two years ago.
The total number of cases last year was 286.
More than two-thirds of this year's patients - 68 per cent - are young adults aged 15 to 24. Doctors say mumps often spreads at universities and other places where young people mix socially.
They believe many of those falling ill may not have had the jabs needed to give maximum protection against the virus. Some will have had just one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which only gives 60 per cent protection against mumps. After a second, booster jab, the protection level rises to 90 per cent.
Others will have had jabs in a 1994 schools campaign which only protected against measles and rubella, not mumps.
Doctors are urging 20 to 35-year-olds who aren't sure which jabs they have had to speak to their GP.
The clinical director of Health Protection Scotland, Dr Syed Ahmed, said the largest current mumps outbreaks were in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh - cities with large numbers of students - as well as Lanarkshire.
He added: "The theory is where young people come together, it will spread."
Mumps, once a common childhood illness, can spread widely when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It's best known for causing painful swollen glands under the ears. Other symptoms include headache, joint pain and a high temperature.
About one in seven mumps cases lead to viral meningitis. A life-threatening brain infection called encephalitis is rarer still.
HEALTHEAL CHIEF Dr Ahmed