THE HSE has issued an advisory to the public amid an outbreak of mumps in the western region.
There has been an increase in the number of people aged between 15 and 29 being diagnosed with mumps in the HSE Western region, with 45 patients diagnosed in the past seven weeks.
The HSE Western region takes in Roscommon, Galway and Limerick, along with Clare, Donegal, Leitrim, Limerick, Mayo, North Tipperary and Sligo.
Mumps is an acute viral illness that causes fever, headache and painful swollen salivary glands.
It is spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with saliva.
People remain unwell for an average of between seven and 10 days.
Complications can include meningitis and inflammation of the testicles, which can affect fertility in later life.
Less common complications can include inflammation of the pancreas, deafness, arthritis and inflammation of the heart.
Treatment for mumps is focused on symptom relief with rest, fluids and over-the-counter painkillers advised.
The HSE is advising that immunisation with MMR vaccine is the best protection. Being up to date with two doses of MMR vaccine is recommended.
If people have not had (or are not absolutely certain if they have had) two doses of MMR vaccine they should be vaccinated.
According to the HSE, having an extra dose of MMR vaccine will not do any harm. Checking for immunity would cause a delay and is therefore not recommended.
It can take up to 28 days before people will be protected by the MMR vaccine.
To prevent further infections with mumps, people are advised to stay away from school, college or work for five days following the onset of their symptoms.