A record number of suspected cases of mumps has are being reported across the county.

Parents and guardians are being urged to check for symptoms have make their children have the MMR vaccination to prevent catching the illness.

Between July and September this year,104 suspected cases of were recorded in Essex according to Public Health England's latest statistics.

This is triple the 34 cases that were reported in the same period in 2018 and is also the highest number since records comparable records began in 2010.

A total of 322 suspected cases of mumps have been recorded this year alone, up from 87 in 2018.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), said: “Although it is normal to see mumps outbreaks in universities every few years, we are seeing a significant number of cases, the highest quarterly figure since 2009.

“Coupled with the continued measles outbreaks these figures clearly demonstrate the need for sustained high vaccination rates.

“We’re urging parents and their children, no matter how old they are, to check they’ve had two doses of MMR. Measles is easy to catch and can kill. Vaccines are there to stop the spread of disease and save lives.

“It’s never too late to protect yourself and others.”

Mumps is when painful swelling occurs at the side of the face under the ears close to the salivary glands, giving the appearance of a 'hamster face'.

Since the beginning of 2019, there have been 11,723 suspected cases of mumps across England and Wales and 2,205 suspected cases of measles.

A third of people who contract mumps display no symptoms but the virus can rapidly develop into viral meningitis.

Doctors need to report suspected cases of infectious diseases to the local authority or local Health Protection Team, although not all cases are confirmed.

For more information about mumps or measles, go to the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mumps/