STUDENTS returning to Sunderland for the start of the academic year are being urged to protect themselves from potentially-dangerous illnesses.
Experts at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the North East are urging teenagers and young adults to make sure they are vaccinated against infections such as mumps, measles and meningitis.
Students are reminded of the importance of the jabs and how to spot the early signs of the serious infections.
Many universities and colleges have seen outbreaks of mumps in recent years.
Nearly 500 cases of mumps have been reported in the North East this year, with the majority of cases being diagnosed in people aged from 14 to 24 years.
The figure compares with 746 cases of mumps which were diagnosed for the whole of 2010.
University bars and campuses are often an ideal place for bacteria to spread.
For more information on vaccinations, visit www.hpa.org.uk