From Sep. 1 through the end of 2016, Manitoba provincial health officials reported 79 confirmed mumps cases, predominately in college students.

Mumps virus/CDC
Mumps virus/CDC

The majority of cases are people between 17 to 29 years of age and are connected to the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Université de St. Boniface, some cases are not connected to these sites. Many of the affected individuals are students, live in Winnipeg and are involved with or participate in sports.

Mumps is caused by the mumps virus, which is spread through respiratory droplets in the air formed when coughing or sneezing and through the sharing of food or drinks. You can also catch it by touching an item that was previously touched by an infected person and then touching your eyes or mouth.

Symptoms generally occur between 12 to 25 days after infection and resolve three to ten days after onset of illness. The most common are fever and swollen cheeks and neck. Swollen cheeks and neck are due to swollen glands, usually under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face.

Approximately 20 per cent of those infected with mumps will not show any symptoms. Nearly half of those infected have mainly respiratory symptoms.