The recent rise in Canadian cases of mumps and its complications have led public health officials in several provinces to remind young adults to check if they need vaccination boosters.
Mumps is a viral infection that is contagious and spread through saliva and respiratory droplets, and causes swelling of the salivary glands, which are in your cheeks, close to your jaw and below the ears.
Mumps “can also be associated with deafness, meningitis,” said Dr. Sarah Wilson, medical epidemiologist with Public Health Ontario. “There are significant complications but fortunately for most people, it’s an unpleasant, uncomfortable experience that resolves.”
A person with mumps is most infectious from seven days before to five days after they have symptoms, which can also include headache and fever, according to health officials. You can contract mumps by breathing around the cough or sneeze droplets of someone who is infected, or by sharing cups and other objects that have been handled by someone with the disease.
So far this year in Ontario, there have been 19 cases, Wilson said, compared with the usual annual count of five to 23.
Toronto Public Health has logged at least 17 cases since January, far above the four cases annually that have been logged over the past five years.
All of the cases have been confirmed in adults aged 18 to 35.
The investigation focuses on bars on the west side of downtown. About 60 per cent of those infected either never received the mumps, measles and rubella booster or only got one of the two recommended doses, said Dr. Vinita Dubey, acting medical officer of health.
Providing a second round of the vaccine wasn’t practised until the early 1990s, which has led to a small gap…