Eastern Health is advising the public of an increase in cases of parotitis and mumps in the eastern region of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since December 2017, there have been 19 cases of parotitis reported by physicians in the eastern region. Parotitis is the swelling of the parotid or salivary glands on one or both sides of the face. Parotitis is caused by an infection with mumps virus, influenza A or other respiratory viruses. Currently, the majority of cases are being seen in adults, however the age range is between 10 – 40 years of age. To date, six of these parotitis cases have tested positive for the mumps virus, with further results expected early this week from the National Microbiology Laboratory.
The mumps virus is spread through close contact with an infected person through nose and throat secretions from coughs and sneezes. It is also spread by contact with an infected person’s saliva through sharing drinks, cigarettes, drinking bottles, food or by kissing.
The best protection against the mumps is the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. People at risk of contracting the mumps include anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine and who has never had mumps. All children in the province receive mumps vaccination at 12 and 18 months of age. Most of the people born after 1983 should have received two doses of MMR vaccine. People born before 1970 are considered immune. Individuals born in 1970 and later can check their immunization records, and a second dose of vaccine can be considered for added protection.
In addition, community residents are advised to protect themselves and their families through good health habits such as cover, clean, contain – clean your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitizer; use a tissue or your arm to cover coughs and sneezes; and contain your illness by staying home and resting.