A rise in mumps has prompted health officials in Hammersmith & Fulham to advise young people to get a catch-up MMR jab.
There have been 450 cases of mumps in London this year – a rise of 150 compared to last year.
Although only 14 cases have been confirmed locally, public health officials have urged teenagers to look out for the symptoms, principally painful swellings at the side of the face, under the ears.
If you suspect you have mumps, or that a family member does, the advice is to avoid contact with others for five days after the glands swell.
And if you are unsure whether you have had two MMR vaccinations, get in touch with your GP to arrange a catch-up jab.
“Mumps can spread quickly from person to person, and we often see cases in close-knit communities such as schools, universities and colleges,” said London’s Public Health England director Dr Yvonne Doyle.
What starts as a headache or fever is quickly followed by a swelling of the glands in the neck. In rare cases it can lead to meningitis and deafness.
“Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect against mumps,” added Dr Doyle. “The MMR vaccination also protects against two more serious illnesses; German measles (rubella) and measles.”
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