The University Medical Service (UMS) sent a warning to students after having more than 18 confirmed cases of mumps at UEA in the last few months.
The UMS, whose services include the UEA Medical Centre, announced the outbreak. The letter urged students to check whether or not they have been vaccinated against Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
Measles, mumps, and rubella are highly infectious conditions that the NHS warn can have serious, and potentially fatal, complications. Some of the largest risks of the three conditions include meningitis, swelling of the brain (known as encephalitis), and deafness.
The news of the outbreak at UEA follows a report from Public Health England (PHE) who warn that measles outbreaks have also been confirmed across the UK. There are also currently large outbreaks of the disease in Europe, with Italy, Germany, and Romania being affected worst.
Dr Mary Ramsey, the head of Immunisations at PHE, has said “The UK recently achieved [World Health Organisation] measles elimination status and so the overall risk of measles to the UK population is low.
“However, due to ongoing measles outbreaks in Europe, we will continue to see cases in unimmunised individuals and limited onward spread can occur in communities with low MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.”
Students are considered a higher-risk group for contracting measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis because they live in close proximity to one another, which magnifies the risk of infection. Students are recommended to protect themselves from mumps and measles by receiving two doses of the MMR vaccine.
The vaccine is free on the NHS to all adults and children who are not up to date with their two doses. More information about the vaccine and how you can get it is available on the NHS website or can be obtained by contacting your GP.