DON’T BE LIKE SID

13 new cases of mumps re­ported in VCH re­gion

24 Hours Vancouver - - FRONT PAGE - STEPHANIE IP

If you’re be­tween the ages of 18 to 33, live in a dorm or with room­mates, or en­joy mak­ing out — be on the look­out for mumps.

The Van­cou­ver Coastal Health au­thor­ity is warn­ing of a pos­si­ble mumps out­break, af­ter record­ing 13 new cases in the VCH re­gion in the last month. All re­cently re­ported cases were in in­di­vid­u­als be­tween the ages of 18 and 33, with the av­er­age age of 25.

To date, there have been 80 cases since Fe­bru­ary of this year, com­pared to 86 for all of 2016. Pre­vi­ously, VCH recorded an av­er­age of 32 cases a year be­tween 2011 and 2015.

Ear­lier this year, five Van­cou­ver Canucks play­ers were side­lined af­ter they were found to have or showed signs of mumps.

What are the signs of mumps?

Pos­si­ble signs of the vi­ral ill­ness in­clude fever and swollen sali­vary glands (un­der the jaw and ears, and un­der the tongue), though not ev­ery­one with mumps will ex­pe­ri­ence swelling. Com­pli­ca­tions could re­sult in swollen tes­ti­cles or ovaries and se­ri­ous cases in­clude in­flam­ma­tion of the brain (menin­gi­tis) and deaf­ness. Who is at risk? Young adults who live in dorms or close quar­ters, or who in­ter­act fre­quently with oth­ers of the same age are most at risk. How does it spread? Mumps is spread through saliva or mu­cus from the mouth, nose or throat of an in­fected per­son. Res­pi­ra­tory droplets con­tain­ing the virus could spread through a cough or sneeze, even if an in­di­vid­ual is two me­tres away from some­one with mumps.

Shar­ing food, drinks or cig­a­rettes, as well as kissing some­one with mumps can be con­ta­gious.

What should I do if I think if I have mumps?

Those who sus­pect they may have mumps should stay home from work and other out­ings and call a doc­tor’s of­fice be­fore vis­it­ing in per­son to pre­vent spread­ing the virus to other pa­tients, of­fice staff and the pub­lic.

How do I pro­tect my­self from mumps?

Limited in­ter­ac­tion with in­fected in­di­vid­u­als can help cut down on the pos­si­bil­ity of mumps but the most ef­fec­tive way is to en­sure you are vac­ci­nated. The vac­cine is ad­min­is­tered as MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella).

If you were born af­ter Jan. 1, 1970, you need two doses of mumps-con­tain­ing vac­cine.

If you were born be­tween Jan. 1 1957 and Dec. 31, 1969, you need one dose of mump­scon­tain­ing vac­cine.

If you were born be­fore 1957 or have had mumps in­fec­tion, you are con­sid­ered pro­tected.

In 1996, a sec­ond dose of MMR was added to B.C.’s rou­tine vac­ci­na­tion sched­ule, which means those born be­tween 1970 and 1995 may have only re­ceived the first of two rec­om­mended vac­ci­na­tions.

The MMR vac­cine is free at pub­lic health units, phar­ma­cies, fam­ily doc­tors and walkin clin­ics.

POST­MEDIA NET­WORK FILES

Sid­ney Crosby with the mumps in 2014. The Van­cou­ver Coastal Health au­thor­ity is warn­ing of a pos­si­ble mumps out­break, af­ter record­ing 13 new cases in the VCH re­gion in the last month.

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