Mumps cases in England rose to the highest level in a decade, according to the latest Public Health England (PHE) data.
There were 5,042 lab-confirmed cases of mumps reported in England in 2019, compared to 1,066 cases in 2018.
PHE said the increase will continue in 2020 as 546 confirmed cases were reported in January itself.
Many of the cases in 2019 were seen in the so called ‘Wakefield cohorts’ – young adults born in the late nineties and early 2000s who missed out the MMR vaccine when they were children.
As these cohorts are now attending college and universities, PHE predicts that they are likely to continue fueling outbreaks into 2020 just like how the outbreaks in universities and colleges fueled a steep rise in 2019.
“The rise in mumps cases is alarming and yet another example of the long-term damage caused by anti-vax information,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The minister said the health department will soon publish its vaccine strategy, adding that any one who claims vaccines ineffective are risking people’s lives.
“Our vaccine strategy will soon be published outlining how we will increase uptake, limit the spread of vaccine misinformation and ensure every child receives two doses of their MMR vaccination,” he said.
The UK is witnessing an increase in mumps and measles cases in the last two years, especially in the second quarter of both 2018 and 2019, that resulted in the country losing its ‘measles-free’ status.