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Acute hearing loss related to mumps cases in Japan underscore need for free vaccinations: survey

Kyodo

At least 336 people nationwide suffered hearing loss in 2015 and 2016 as a result of complications after they contracted the mumps, a survey by an ear, nose and throat society showed Wednesday.

The report found a total of 261 people diagnosed with severe hearing loss to such an extent that it causes difficulties in their daily lives. These findings underline the need for free public vaccinations.

According to the survey by the Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Society of Japan, 154 of the total were children between the ages 5 and 10 years. The group collected responses from 3,536 medical institutions across the country.

Fourteen patients developed hearing difficulties in both ears and 11 began wearing hearing aids or had cochlear implants, the society said.

Those in their 30s made up a relatively large number of mumps cases, it added.

Mumps is a viral disease that can cause fever and swelling in the salivary glands located just under the ear. Mandatory vaccinations were halted in Japan in 1993 due to side effects.

Currently, mumps vaccinations are administered to individuals on a voluntary basis with patients shouldering the cost.

“Among developed countries, Japan is the only nation without routine vaccinations for the disease,” the society said, urging the government to resume a regimen of free vaccinations.