Swell of mumps cases good reminder to check vaccination status, mind saliva exchange

Halifax, Nova Scotia – A recent increase in mumps cases in the Halifax area has Dr. Trevor Arnason reminding Nova Scotians to check their vaccination status and be mindful of how to prevent spreading and catching the virus.
“We currently have a growing cluster of mumps cases in the Halifax area and many of the cases have been connected to social activities, such as parties and going to local bars” said Arnason, Medical Officer of Health for the Halifax area. “It’s important that we protect ourselves by not sharing drinks, food, utensils and smoking products.”
The 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 also spread the virus. 
“We strongly encourage everyone to check their immunization status and ensure they’re up to date with two doses of a mumps-containing vaccine. This is especially important in the 20 to 40 year old age group, as many of these individuals received only a single dose of vaccine and are less likely to have immunity from mumps infection as a child,” Arnason said.
There are currently 13 confirmed cases in the Halifax area, with an age range from 20 to 36 years. The total cases include the two connected to the Dalhousie University community, which were reported earlier in November. 
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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