The HSE South area is among the worst affected with an outbreak of mumps in Ireland in the last year, at twice the national average. The HSE South includes Kerry, Cork, Waterford and South Tipperary. Nationally 2000 cases of the highly infectious disease were notified to the health authorities. The scale of the mumps outbreak since July last year has led the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to recommend an increase in the overall coverage of the MMR vaccine among teenagers and young adults. The centre says there are large gaps in the uptake of the two dose MMR vaccination. The vaccine which was introduced in Ireland in 1988, protects against measles, mumps and rubella. It’s usually given to children aged 12 months followed by a booster dose at 4 to 5 years. The infection can by dangerous in older children and adults as it can lead to serious complications such as meningitis and encephalitis through secondary infection.