WINNIPEG – The number of cases of mumps continues to rise in Manitoba, but health officials say the number of new cases is on a downward trend.
Since September 1, 2016 and up to March 23, 2017 there have been 238 confirmed cases of Mumps reported to Manitoba Health.
But Medical Officer of Health with Manitoba Health, Dr. Richard Rusk said the rate of increase has gone down.
“I’m hoping we’ve turned the corner,” said Rusk in an interview on Monday. “But the problem with mumps is it can kind of trickle on.”
The outbreak is being traced back to the University of Manitoba Bisons football team. The team was playing a game in Calgary in October and some players had to be quarantined.
READ MORE: Manitoba Hit With Mumps Outbreak
Manitoba Health said initially the majority of cases were students between 19 to 29 years old, living in Winnipeg, or involved in sports.
But now mumps cases are being seen in all ages and throughout Manitoba.
Dr. Rusk said there have been severe cases as well.
“About half a dozen more severe cases out of the 238 cases,” Rusk said. “Typical one is where you get deafness, so there’s infection of the auditory nerve.”
Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection. It has an incubation period of about two weeks and it is spread through saliva or mucus, usually through coughing, sneezing or talking, according to Manitoba Health.
“Sometimes there’s even a four or five day window where people are already infected, they’re already passing this virus on, but they haven’t got the real symptoms to keep them at home,” Rusk said.
Symptoms include: fever, headache or earache, tiredness, sore muscles, dry mouth, and the trademark puffy cheeks and neck.
A vaccination that protects people from mumps is offered free of charge at 12 months of age and again at four to six in Manitoba.
The province said anyone born between 1970 and 1996 may especially be at risk because during that time period not every child got a second vaccination.
To reduce the spread of mumps, the province recommends:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your forearm or a tissue.
- Stay at home when sick.
The Mumps virus can be spread by kissing, coughing, sneezing and sharing drinks or cigarettes. Learn more at https://t.co/ZXRdu0hH0G.— Manitoba Government (@MBGov) March 27, 2017
If you think you may have the Mumps please contact your health care provider and take precautions to avoid spreading the virus.— Manitoba Government (@MBGov) March 27, 2017
– with files from Brittany Greenslade and Carmen Chai