Skip to content

Mumps- number of cases and MMR uptake rates

Related Links

Tell us if you want any of the documents on this page in an alternative format.
Brian Gibbons, Minister for Health and Social Services
The total number of mumps notifications for Wales in 2005 was 5415.This data was taken from the office of National Statistics notifications of infectious disease updated on 22/12/05.  From ONS notifications of infectious disease for 2004 the total number of mumps notifications in Wales was 1737.

Alongside the other UK countries, Wales is experiencing a high number of mumps cases. The group most at-risk are those around 17-20 years of age. In the late 1980s and early 1990s these individuals did not receive either one or two doses of a mumps containing vaccine, and grew up at a time when mumps infection in childhood was becoming uncommon.

All four UK countries receive independent advice from the Joint Committee on
Vaccination & Immunisation (JCVI). On the basis of the JCVI’s advice, all children are routinely offered an MMR vaccine at about thirteen months of age and again before they go to school (usually between the age of three years four months, and five years).. They recommended that two doses of mumps-containing vaccine should be given where possible but recognised that reaching teenagers may present significant challenges at a practical level. They therefore considered that efforts should be made to ensure that they received at least one dose of mumps containing vaccine.

Acknowledging that more needed to be done to ensure adequate protection for all the Welsh Assembly Government commissioned a Task and Finish Group, chaired by Dr Richard Roberts of the National Public Health Service (NPHS). The group’s remit was to examine all factors that might lead to improved control of the three diseases particularly through improvement of the uptake of the MMR vaccine. A key recommendation was the catch-up programme aimed at people aged 11 to 25 years. MMR immunisation is currently being offered to all those born between 1 January 1980 and 31 August 1994, currently around 11-25 years of age.

Uptake of primary MMR in Welsh two year-olds increased this quarter to 85%. It would appear that the uptake of MMR seems to be recovering from the low point observed in 2003 when it fell below 80%. This low point coincided with unproven speculation about the vaccine’s safety. This speculation has since been disproved and every immunisation expert recognises that MMR has an excellent safety record. However, there is still a great deal of work left to do to increase uptake of MMR to the 95% level recommended by the World Health Organisation and to restore confidence in the vaccine.