The mumps outbreak grows in a number of regions of Canada and it’s reached the point that the country’s Chief Public Health Officer felt it necessary to make a statement on Wednesday.
Dr. Theresa Tam said, “Several outbreaks of mumps have been confirmed across Canada and are being investigated by local public health authorities. In light of this, I want to remind Canadians of the importance of getting vaccinated and the steps you can take to help prevent the spread of this disease.
“Thanks to vaccination programs throughout Canada, mumps is no longer a common childhood disease. In fact, there has been a 99% reduction in the number of cases reported since the introduction of routine vaccinations against mumps. But, as the past few months have shown us, outbreaks of mumps continue to occur in Canada, mostly in young adults.”
Manitoba has been hit hard by mumps in recent months. Since September, 184 confirmed cases of Mumps reported to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. While initially the majority of cases were University students between 18 to 29 years of age, living in Winnipeg, or involved with or participate in sports, mumps cases are now being seen in all ages and throughout Manitoba.
In Alberta, mumps outbreaks have been declared in the South Zone and in the Edmonton Zone of Alberta Health Services. 21 cases of mumps have already been confirmed in Alberta in 2017, this compares with the four and eight cases reported during the same period in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Six cases of mumps have now been confirmed at the University of Alberta’s north campus.
In Vancouver, health officials have been working with the Vancouver Canucks on a mumps outbreak. Several Canucks players and staff, and others in the community have been confirmed with having the highly contagious viral illness.
The Canucks announced last week that several players and staff were ill. Troy Stecher, Michael Chaput, Nikita Tryamkin and Christopher Tanev had the illness. Nurses screened and vaccinated players and staff, and looked into how the outbreak began.
Finally, the mumps outbreak in Canada’s largest city continues to grow. Toronto Public Health (TPH) reports 25 confirmed cases of mumps, mostly among 18-35 year olds, in Toronto in 2017 as of Friday.
Mumps is a contagious viral infection that can often cause swelling and pain in the glands of the jaw (one or both cheeks may look swollen). Some people with mumps won’t have gland swelling, and some may feel like they have a bad cold or influenza instead.
Mumps is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you or shares food or drinks with you. A person with mumps can spread the virus seven days before and for nine days after symptoms start, though it is most likely to spread one to two days before and five days after symptoms start showing.
Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days, but in some cases it can cause serious complications that affect the brain (meningitis), the testicles (orchitis), the ovaries (oophoritis), or the pancreas (pancreatitis). These complications can have life-long effects.