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Mumps alert on campuses

December 9, 2016 — 

The following is a public health update issued on December 9, 2016 from the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer. 

 

Provincial public health officials confirmed today that cases of mumps continue to be reported in Manitoba.  While the majority of cases are people between 17 to 29 years of age and are connected to the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Université de St. Boniface, some cases are not connected to these sites.

The majority of affected individuals are students and live in Winnipeg.  With the holiday season approaching, students may be attending events or returning home and, if infected, could spread mumps to people in communities throughout the province and elsewhere.

Manitoba typically experiences four to five cases of mumps every year.  Between Sept. 1 and Dec. 8, 61 cases have been reported in Manitoba.

Public health officials in the regional health authorities investigate each case of mumps and identify the people they may have been contact with and the locations.  Where appropriate, people will be offered immunization.  Individuals with mumps will be asked to restrict their contact with others to reduce the possible spread of mumps.  Public health officials will continue to monitor the situation in Manitoba and provide updated information as necessary.

The mumps virus can be passed on to others when an infected person passes fluids from the mouth and nose to another by sharing drinks, food or cigarettes; by kissing; by coughing or sneezing within a few feet of another person.

To reduce the spread of mumps, people should:

  • wash their hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available,
  • avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils,
  • cover coughs and sneezes with the forearm or a tissue, and
  • stay home when sick.

Although there can be rare complications from mumps, the vast majority of cases are mild, with full recovery in one to two weeks.  Key symptoms include swelling and pain in one or more salivary glands, usually on both sides of the face, and fever.

The mumps virus can be spread to others from two to three days before and four to five days after symptoms appear.  Some people infected with mumps may not have any symptoms at all, but can still spread the virus to other people.

In Manitoba, a two-dose measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine program was introduced in 1996.  Protection against mumps is offered free-of-charge as part of Manitoba’s routine immunization schedule at 12 months of age and again at four to six years of age.  Health-care workers and students may also be eligible.  Manitobans should contact their health-care provider to determine if they require this vaccine.

People who think they might have mumps, or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with mumps, should phone their health-care provider or phone Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.

If visiting a physician or health-care provider, it is best to call ahead and make an appointment so health-care staff can take steps to reduce the exposure of other people to the virus.

For more information about mumps, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/diseases/mumps.html.

 


Frequently asked questions – information from University Health Service

There have been a number of students recently diagnosed with Mumps at the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus.

What is Mumps?
Mumps is infection caused by the Mumps Virus. Manitoba typically experiences 4-5 cases of mumps each year.

How is Mumps spread?
Mumps is spread easily from person to person by direct contact with fluids from the mouth and nose of an infected person.

Examples of how it can be spread include:

-Coughing or sneezing within a few feet of another person;
-Sharing food, utensils or drinks (ex: water bottles);
-Sharing things like lip gloss, cosmetics or cigarettes;
-By touching objects that were recently exposed to infected mucus or saliva and then rubbing your eyes, mouth or nose;
-Kissing.

Individuals that live or interact with each other in close quarters on a regular basis are at a higher risk of exposure to the virus and therefore it is very important to take the simple steps outlined below to prevent the spread.

What are the signs and symptoms of mumps?
-Cold-like symptoms;
-Swollen and tender salivary glands on one or both sides of the face;
-Fever;
-Headache and muscle aches.
-Less common symptoms include swollen and tender testicles in teenage and adult males.

Prevention is important because the mumps virus can be spread two days before symptoms appear and four to five days after they appear. Some people infected with mumps may have no symptoms at all, but can still spread the virus to others.

Why is Mumps a concern?
Although symptoms are usually mild and resolve on their own, in rare cases mumps can cause more serious complications.

How is it treated?
There is no specific treatment. Treatment focuses on managing the symptoms. Because mumps is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not given.

What should I do to prevent getting mumps?
1. Check your immunization records to see if you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. You can contact your health care provider or public health office for assistance in accessing your records.

2. If you have not had two doses of MMR vaccine then you should either arrange for vaccination with your health care provider or contact your local public health office a to receive an immunization. In Manitoba, protection against mumps is offered free-of-charge for those who are eligible.

3. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, cover your mouth with a tissue or your shirtsleeve when you cough or sneeze, and avoid sharing personal items. These are all very important steps in preventing the spread of the virus.

4. Stay home when you are sick.

What do I do if I think that I have Mumps?
1. If you develop symptoms or signs suggestive of Mumps, limit contact with others and contact University Health Service (contact info below) or your health care provider. Phone ahead to alert the clinic that you suspect you may have mumps so that they can take adequate precautions to prevent spread to others.

2. While awaiting diagnosis, you should limit contact with others until 5 days after the swollen glands first appear. Please stay home! Do not attend work or school.

I was told I have Mumps. What do I do now?
-Do not attend class for 5 days after the onset of symptoms;
-Do not go to work for 5 days after the onset of symptoms;
-Do not participate in group or social activities, including activities like going to the gym or the library for 5 days after the onset of symptoms;
-Avoid close contact with others until five days after the onset of symptoms.

For further information please see:

Manitoba Health website: gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/diseases/mumps.html

Health Links 24-hour phone line at 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 or visit wrha.mb.ca/healthinfo/healthlinks/ with any questions or concerns.

University of Manitoba Health and Wellness Educator, Katie Kutryk, for information at 204-295-9032 (katie [dot] kutryk [at] umanitoba [dot] ca) or visit umanitoba.ca/student/health-wellness

To access health care on campus, contact:

University Health Service, 105 University Centre, 204-474-8411.
umanitoba.ca/student/health/uhs_appointments.html

 

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