A MUMPS outbreak has been confirmed among Essex University students.

A spokeswoman confirmed there were a “very small number” of cases at its Wivenhoe campus.

Students have been advised to visit the university’s healthcare page if they feel unwell.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection recognisable by painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears.

Other symptoms include headaches, joint pain and a high temperature, which may develop a few days before the swelling of the side of face, caused by glands.

Most cases of mumps occur in young adults who didn’t receive the MMR vaccine as part of their childhood vaccination schedule, or didn’t have mumps as a child.

Claims of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism have been extensively investigated and found to be false but the link was first suggested in the early 1990s.