Mumps outbreak in west of Ireland with high number of cases recorded in recent weeks
An outbreak of mumps has hit counties in the west with 45 people struck by the illness in recent weeks.
The worst affected are those aged 15 to 29 years.
There were 319 cases across the country recorded in the whole of last year.
Mumps is spread by coughing and sneezing and can also be transmitted through direct contact with saliva.
Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, malaise and swollen, tender salivary glands (usually the parotid gland which is located just below the front of the ear).
Mumps often gives the appearance of swollen cheeks or jaw. Mumps can also lead to complications like meningitis and can cause swollen testicles, which can lead to fertility problems in later life.
The MMR vaccine provides the best protection against mumps.
Some people may have had only one dose and should get a second.
People who are uncertain if they have had two doses are also being advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible, because it can take up to 28 days for the antibodies to take effect.
It's important to contact your GP if you suspect mumps so a diagnosis can be made.
The GP can usually make a diagnosis after seeing and feeling the swelling, looking at the position of the tonsils in the mouth and checking the person's temperature to see if it's higher than normal.
It is important to let the GP know in advance if going to the surgery, so they can take any necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.