Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mumps in Canada

The Canadian mumps outbreak has spread across the country from east-west, now reaching the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. A total of 399 cases of mumps have been reported in Alberta, Canada from 9/1/2007 to 3/4/2008, with outbreaks in Chinook (Southern Alberta), Calgary and Nova Scotia. 5 new cases have appeared in Chilliwack. Mumps was called “sneaky” by Fraser Health medical officer Dr. Gillian Arsenault, who reported the cases. Because the virus is spread through saliva, it can be transmitted by a cough or a sneeze. However, 1/3 of infected people are asymptomatic, making the infection hard to track and to contain. Another 1/3 suffer from swollen glands or testicles, following cold-like symptoms. Fraser Health is offering 2 free doses of the MMR vaccine to kids < 18 years, university students, or child/health care workers, because older people who have been around the virus are more likely to be immune.


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