Two cases of mumps diagnosed at Framlingham College
- Credit: Archant
Two cases of the contagious viral infection mumps have been diagnosed at a Suffolk private school.
The medical centre team at Framlingham College contacted parents of students at the school this week to inform them of the outbreak.
Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swellings in the side of the face under the ears, giving a person with mumps a distinctive "hamster face" appearance.
Other symptoms can include headaches, joint pain and a high temperature.
Tom Caston, deputy head pastoral, said the school acted "within the guidelines and protocols required".
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"All the relevant parties and agencies were informed, both internally and externally", Mr Caston added.
MORE: 'Don't talk to me about league tables - what we do for each pupil is what counts'Mumps used to be common in children before the introduction of the MMR vaccine.
The infection is spread in the same way as colds and flu and a person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards.
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There were 5,042 recorded cases of mumps in England in 2019 - four times the number in 2018 and the highest level in a decade, according to data from Public Health England (PHE).
The steep rise in cases in 2019 has been largely driven by outbreaks in universities and colleges.
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 on the MMR vaccine when they were children.
Speaking last month, Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant cpidemiologist at Public Health England, said: "The best protection against mumps and its complications is to have 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. It's never too late to catch up.
"We encourage all students and young people who may have missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past to contact their GP practice and get up to date as soon as possible."
Matt Hancock, health secretary, said: "The rise in mumps cases is alarming and yet another example of the long-term damage caused by anti-vax information.
"Science proves that vaccines are the best form of defence against a host of potentially deadly diseases and are safer and more effective than ever before. Those who claim otherwise are risking people's lives."