The number of confirmed mumps cases in the Vancouver, North Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler area has grown to 41 from 15 two weeks ago, prompting health officials to urge people to ensure they’ve been vaccinated.
“The average age of patients with this mumps outbreak is 33,” said coastal health medical health officer Dr. Althea Hayden in a news release. “Due to their age, most of those infected with mumps likely only had one dose of mumps vaccine and so were not fully protected against the disease.”
Health officials are warning those between 22 and 46 years old to ensure they’ve had two doses of the vaccine.
Mumps vaccine is usually given as MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) but since a second dose of MMR wasn’t added to the routine vaccination schedule in B.C. until 1996, those born between 1970 and 1996 aren’t fully protected, Vancouver Coastal Health explained.
On May 20, Vancouver Coastal Health reported 15 cases in Whistler and Vancouver, and said anyone uncertain about their immunization should get vaccinated.
Those born between 1957 and 1969 need just one dose.
Those born before 1957, or have had mumps infection, are considered protected.
Babies between six months and one year, should be immunized.
Mumps is a viral illness that causes fever, and the swelling of salivary glands in the face below the jaw, ears and under the tongue.
It is contagious and spreads easily, usually by contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person. Sharing food, drinks, or cigarettes, or kissing someone who is infected, can also result in an infection.
Rare complications can result in inflammation of the brain or permanent deafness.
Those who think they have mumps are urged to stay home from work and social events, and to contact their doctor before visitng the clinic to avoid infecting other patients and staff.
For more information about immunization, visit www.immunizebc.ca
Questions can also be directed to HealthLink BC at 811.