Residents advised to watch for symptoms and prevent the spread of mumps
Peterborough Public Health (PPH) is reporting three confirmed cases of mumps in the Peterborough area.
“Mumps is circulating in our community, so we are asking residents to watch for symptoms and see their healthcare provider if they are feeling ill,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “It’s also important to follow good infection control practices to prevent its spread, such as ensuring you are vaccinated against mumps and not sharing objects like cups and eating utensils.”
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. The most common symptom of mumps is swollen salivary glands, which cause one or both cheeks to become very puffy. (The salivary glands are located in your cheeks, near your jaw and below each ear.) Mumps also causes fever and headache. People who have symptoms usually get better after a week or two, but mumps can sometimes cause serious complications. Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated is at increased risk of catching the disease, compared with people who have been fully vaccinated or who have already had mumps.
People born in or after 1970 are not considered immune unless they either have received two doses of the mumps vaccine, also called measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV), or have been diagnosed with mumps. Those born before 1970 are considered to be immune. It is recommended that anyone who is not fully vaccinated see their healthcare provider, or if they don’t have one, call PPH at 705-743-1000, ext. 129 to get up to date and fully protected.
Mumps spreads easily through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can catch it by:
- Breathing the air where an infected person has coughed or sneezed
- Touching an infected surface, and then touching their nose or mouth
- Sharing objects (for example, cups and eating utensils) with a person who has mumps
A person with mumps can spread the infection from seven days before to five days after they have symptoms. Up to half of people may have very mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. However, these people can still spread the virus.
Dr. Salvaterra noted that people who are most at risk include pregnant women. Pregnant women who get mumps during the first trimester may have a higher risk of miscarriage.
Mumps activity has increased in 2017 in several parts of North America, including Ontario. According to Public Health Ontario, between January 1 and August 31, 2017, there have been 169 cases of mumps (158 confirmed and 11 probable) reported in Ontario. These case counts for 2017 are higher than the past eight years.