An increase in mumps cases in Edmonton has lead Alberta Health Services to expand its outbreak zone.
As of Tuesday, 51 cases of the mumps have been seen in the province so far this year – 24 in the Edmonton Zone. Outbreaks are being seen in other parts of North America as well.
The outbreak area has been expanded from the University of Alberta, to the entire Edmonton Zone.
For the time being, all persons who live, work or go to school in the Edmonton Zone and were born in or after 1970 can receive up to two free doses of vaccine.
“To stop the further spread of illness, and protect ourselves and our loved ones, we encourage all Edmonton Zone residents to ensure that they are up to date with all of their immunizations,” said Dr. Joanna Oda, Medical Officer of Health, Edmonton Zone.
“If you’re unsure of your immunization status, call Health Link at 811 or your local public health centre.”
If you have already had two documented doses of this vaccine, you do not require any additional doses. People born before 1970 are assumed to be immune because mumps was extremely common prior to vaccine being available.
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.
“In addition to checking your immunization status, please remember: if you or your child develops symptoms of pain on chewing or swallowing and/or swelling of the cheek or jaw, please call Health Link (811) or a doctor to discuss before you visit any healthcare facility,” said Dr. Oda. “This will help reduce the risk of further spread to other patients.”
Although most people recover from mumps without long-term impact, in some cases it can cause serious complications that affect the brain (meningitis), the testicles (orchitis), the ovaries (oophoritis), or the pancreas (pancreatitis). It can also cause deafness in children. (eb)