After discovering four cases of the mumps, London, Ont. heath officials are warning students to make sure they’re vaccinated against the disease, which spreads easily in school residences.
“It’s not an epidemic,” Marlene Price, manager of vaccine and preventable diseases for the local health unit, told the London Free Press. But she does warn anyone born since 1970 to make sure they’ve had a second dose of vaccine. (People born before 1970 usually have immunity, she said.)
Mumps can cause severe swelling of the salivary glands, pain in the throat, breasts or head, fatigue and respiratory symptoms. Occasionally, there are dangerous complications of the pancreas.
The number of cases of Mumps in Canada dropped from 34,000 per year in the 1950s to an average of 87 between 2000 and 2004 following widespread vaccination, says Health Canada.
However, there was an outbreak at Dalhousie University in 2007, which affected at least 350 students. Many had received only a single dose of the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.
Since that outbreak, cases have been reported at Fanshawe College, Nipissing University, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic and Mount Royal College.