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Vancouver: Mumps confirmed at UBC Sauder School of Business

There has been three confirmed mumps cases reported at UBC Sauder School of Business in Vancouver.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) contacted Students and Faculty of the Bachelor in Commerce Program concerning possible exposure to mumps at the school.

Mumps is a disease caused by the mumps virus. Mumps was a common childhood disease before immunization. Now it is more common in young adults.

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LISTEN: Mumps: Canada, the virus and the vaccine and why the comeback

Mumps is contagious and spreads easily. Mumps is spread by contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus spreads through droplets in the air. You can be exposed to the virus even if you are 2 meters away from someone with mumps. You can become infected when you breathe in these droplets or touch objects contaminated with the virus. Sharing food, drinks or cigarettes, or kissing someone who has the virus can also put you at risk.

Symptoms may include fever, aches and pains, headaches, and swelling of the salivary glands, especially the parotid glands that are at the side of the cheeks.

Up to 1 in 5 people with mumps do not have any symptoms. About 1 in 3 people with mumps do not have salivary gland swelling. However, they can still spread the mumps virus to other people.

Symptoms can appear from 12 to 25 days after a person is infected with the mumps virus.

Complications of mumps may include encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can lead to seizures or brain damage. About 1 in 20 people with mumps get mumps meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain.

Mumps can also cause temporary deafness. Permanent deafness occurs in less than 1 in 20,000 people who get mumps.

About 1 in 4 adult men and teenage boys with mumps have painful swelling of the testicles and 1 in 20 women and teenage girls have swelling of the ovaries. Both of these conditions are temporary and rarely result in permanent damage or sterility.

Mumps infection in the early stage of pregnancy may increase the rate of miscarriage but has not been shown to cause birth defects.

There are 2 vaccines available in B.C. that provide protection against mumps:

  1. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
  2. Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (MMRV) Vaccine

The vaccines are provided free as part of routine childhood immunizations and to others that need protection against mumps.

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