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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ontarians Age 19 to 41 Heightened Mumps Risk!

Are Your MMR Immunizations Up-to-Date?

With one local case of mumps confirmed, the local health unit is encouraging people to make sure their mumps and measles immunizations are up-to-date. The confirmed case, a young adult from the area served by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, has since recovered. The case is linked to the mumps outbreak in Toronto.

How Many MMR Vaccines Did You Receive?

'With this summer’s outbreak in Vancouver and now Toronto, it’s more important than ever for people to make sure they have had both doses of the MMR vaccine that protects against mumps, as well as measles and rubella,' says Diane Dingman, Director, Communicable Disease Control for the HKPR District Health Unit.
In Ontario, people born between 1970 and 1991 were likely only offered a single dose of the measles / mumps / rubella (MMR) vaccine as a young child. People born in 1992 or after should have received two doses of the MMR vaccine.
To be fully protected from contracting mumps, two doses of MMR vaccine are required. (People born before 1970 are assumed to be immune to mumps through natural infection or exposure.)

Mumps Poses Severe Health Risks

Mumps,a highly contagious viral infection, spread through direct contact with saliva or mucus, is easily transferred when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and the painful swelling of one or both salivary glands (located near the jaw line, below the ears).
Serious complications can arise from mumps, including meningitis, swelling of the testicles, breasts and ovaries, pancreatitis and deafness. Spontaneous abortion can also occur if the mother is infected in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The infectious period or time an infected person can transmit mumps to a healthy person, is from seven days before symptoms appear to about nine days after symptoms appear.

Mumps-Preventative Measures

As well as having both doses of the MMR vaccine, Dingman says people can protect themselves from getting or spreading mumps by staying home from work or school if ill, using good hand hygiene, covering their mouths and noses with tissues when sneezing or coughing, and not sharing personal items such as eating utensils or drinks.

Young Adults High Infection Rate

'Ontario has recently seen mumps cases in post-secondary students and young adults as this group often lives in close contact with other people in residence or a house,' Dingman says. 'They also may be more inclined to share drinks when going out to clubs or socializing.'
To learn whether they require a second dose of the MMR vaccine, people can contact their health care provider or the health unit closest to where they completed high school.
Learn more about mumps, at search results or contact the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577.

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