Four cases of mumps have been confirmed at the University of Alberta’s north campus in Edmonton, U of A and Alberta Health Services officials said Friday.
The confirmation of a cluster of cases at the U of A comes as Albertans are being advised that a mumps outbreak in southern Alberta could spread north.
Four students from the university’s business program have been infected with the virus. They are being monitored and supported by AHS medical staff.
University official Kevin Friese said the cluster of mumps cases is the most serious public health risk at the university since an H1N1 outbreak in 2013.
Zone medical officer of health Dr. Joanna Oda said it’s unclear how the students came in contact with the virus.
“It’s a gathering place of young people and there’s lots of saliva sharing in a university,” Oda said.
“We have people from a wide variety of backgrounds who may or may not have been immunized.”
Oda said there were two confirmed mumps cases in the Edmonton zone last year. In 2015, there were none.
‘It’s definitely something that we’re watching’
Students at the U of A have been warned about the cluster. They are also being asked to check their immunization records and to consider getting vaccinated if they haven’t been already.
“We’ve taken steps to reach out to our community,” said Friese, assistant dean of students, health and wellness.
“We have determined these are linked cases and, as far as we know, they are the only cases at the University of Alberta.”
There is a chance more students will develop mumps symptoms, Friese said.
Many students are away from the Edmonton campus because of reading week. The university will issue another warning when they return next week.
AHS has also notified schools and post-secondary institutions across the province and alerted physicians and public health nurses to be on the lookout…