Mumps cases continue: Are you up to date on your immunization?


As shared in November, mumps cases have been circulating in the Halifax area. The case total to date is 20 and Dr. Trevor Arnason, Medical Officer of Health for Halifax area, says it’s a good reminder for people to make sure they’re immunized.

 “It’s important to be up-to-date with two doses of a mumps-containing vaccine, especially for those in the 20 to 40 year-old age group,” says Arnason. “People in this age group may have received only a single dose of vaccine and are less likely to have immunity from mumps infection as a child.”

 This cluster of mumps cases has been confirmed in people ages 20 to 36 years. Investigation by Public Health indicates the mumps virus has likely been passed to some people while socializing at parties and local bars.

 “Mumps virus is found in saliva and discharge from the nose and throat, so kissing, coughing in close quarters and speaking for extended periods in a crowded space can spread the virus,” Arnason notes. “It’s also important to avoid sharing food, drink and smokable items.”

 Mumps symptoms include: 

  • Fever, headache, muscle aches
  • Swollen and tender glands at angle of the jaw
  • Swollen and tender testicles in teenage and adult men

Most people recover without complications, but mumps can sometimes lead to meningitis, swelling of the ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas and short-term or permanent hearing loss. It can also be especially serious for pregnant women. More information is available here

Nova Scotia residents born in or after 1970 are eligible to receive two doses of mumps-containing vaccine at no cost through the publicly funded immunization program. Individuals who have not had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine should arrange immunization through their primary care provider as per the Nova Scotia Immunization Schedule. 

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