A HUGE jump in Mumps cases has sparked urgent calls for Cumbrian parents to vaccinate their children.

Around 19 possible cases of the contagious viral infection have been reported across the county in a two week period.

In the week ending Sunday, February 9, three cases were reported in Allerdale, three in Copeland and two in Eden.

In the previous week 11 cases were reported of people showing symptoms.

The cases reflect provisional Government figures published on Friday, February 14, which show 5,042 "lab-confirmed cases" in 2019, compared to 1,066 cases in 2018.

In January 2020, there were 546 compared to 191 in January 2019.

Health chiefs said it's university and college students, born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, who were not given the Measles, Mumps and Rupella (MMR) vaccine when they were children are behind the outbreak.

Figures come despite health bosses in Cumbria saying they have had the highest ever uptake the vaccine with 95 per cent of children getting the jab.

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council's director of public health, said: “The MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

“Outbreaks of disease, especially measles, have occurred when the number of people having the vaccine has dropped.

"If you are unsure whether you have previously had the vaccine or not, you can check with your GP Practice, having further doses will not cause any harm.

“It's very important and it’s never too late to get vaccinated.”

Matt Hancock, the Government's health secretary said: "This is yet another example of the long-term damage caused by anti-vax information.

"Vaccines are the best form of defence. Those who claim otherwise are risking people’s lives."