Mumps Activity Reported in Several Provinces

Several provinces, including Manitoba and Alberta, are reporting mumps. Transmission has occurred in the context of sports activities and bar scenes in young adults; however, in Manitoba, mumps is now being reported in all ages throughout the province.

Mumps Activity in Canada: Manitoba has been reporting cases of mumps since September 2016; British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia are also reporting cases.  The outbreak in Manitoba began with a university sports team and now is being reported in all ages throughout the province.  Saskatchewan is not experiencing an outbreak of mumps.  There have been no cases of mumps reported in Saskatchewan to date in 2017 and two reported cases of mumps were reported in 2016.

Mumps is an acute viral infection characterized by unilateral or bilateral tender, self-limited swelling of the parotid or other salivary glands.  Symptoms may be mild and include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.  Up to 30% of infections may be asymptomatic and symptoms occur 14 to 25 days following exposure.

The mumps virus replicates in the upper respiratory tract and is spread through contact with respiratory secretions or saliva.  Transmission is more likely in crowed environments and with close contact such as classrooms, sporting events, bars, and dormitory living.

Risks in Saskatchewan:  

  • An immunization coverage rate of 75% to 86% is required to stop/interrupt transmission – our coverage rates range from 59% (at 13 months) to 89.5% (at 17 years).
  • University students, including international students and athletes, may not have had 2-doses of mumps-containing vaccine, creating conditions for disease transmission.
  • Under-immunization or no immunization increases the risk of transmission.
  • Mumps-containing vaccine (i.e. MMR) was introduced in Saskatchewan in 1979. Individuals born between 1979 and 1990 may have only received one dose.
  • Risk increases the longer and the closer a person comes into contact with someone who has mumps.

To help reduce the spread of the mumps virus:

  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Keep people suspected of having mumps from childcare, school, post-secondary settings and workplaces for at least 5 days after onset of parotitis and for 9 days if symptoms persist.
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid kissing or sharing eating utensils, water bottles, drinks, and lipsticks.

For more information on the mumps virus and immunizations contact the Public Health Office or call the HealthLine at 811.