Friday, February 24, 2017

Message Concerning Cases of the Mumps

Outbreaks of mumps in Manitoba, southern Alberta and the United States in the past several months are a reminder that vaccine-preventable infections, including mumps, are still a risk to health.

Four cases of mumps have now been confirmed at the University of Alberta’s North Campus.

Alberta Health Services recommends the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Check your immunization status to ensure you are properly vaccinated against mumps.
  • If you are unsure of your immunization status, contact your local public health unit in your hometown.
  • If you were born in Alberta and are uncertain of your immunization history, please call your local public health office or Health Link Alberta at 811.
  • If you have checked your immunization status and require vaccination, please contact your local public health office.

What is mumps?


Mumps is an infectious disease with symptoms that can include swollen, painful cheeks and neck. Some people with mumps won't have gland swelling. Mumps is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you or shares food or drinks.

What are the symptoms?


  • Swelling and pain in the jaw; one or both cheeks may look swollen
  • Fever
  • Headache, earache, sore throat, and pain when you swallow or open your mouth
  • Tiredness, with aching in the muscles and joints
  • Poor appetite and vomiting

Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days. But in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain (meningitis), the testicles (orchitis), the ovaries (oophoritis), or the pancreas (pancreatitis).

How is it spread?


People infected with mumps are contagious for up to 7 days before, and for 9 days after, symptoms appear. You are most likely to spread the virus 1 to 2 days before and up to 5 days after symptoms start.

If you become ill with mumps symptoms, stay out of classes, sports, work, and public places until 5 to 9 days after the salivary glands first start to swell. If you think that you have mumps, be sure to call ahead and explain the symptoms before you go to a doctor’s office.

Faculty or staff who organize travel are encouraged to register individuals and groups through UGo. All parties are encouraged to confirm their immunization status before travelling. It is also a good idea to be aware of current travel and health advisories.

To speak to a Health Link Alberta nurse, call 811.

If you or any students, faculty or staff in your area have questions about the mumps, please refer to the University Health Centre website.

The U of A is working directly with AHS to stay apprised of the situation and to ensure accurate and timely information is made available to the university community.

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
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