Mumps spread continues, vaccination encouraged 

Rate of infection slows after the number of cases doubled during a two-week period in April

The mumps virus is continuing to spread despite an aggressive vaccination program.

There are now 50 confirmed cases. The rate of infection has slowed since the number of cases doubled during a two-week period in April, but is picking up again. Most of the cases are occurring amongst young people who have been vaccinated before.

Health authorities are discovering that people born after 1970 who have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine will require a booster MMR vaccine shot.

The vaccine was different before 1970, and anyone born before 1954 is considered safe because they most likely have already been exposed to the virus.

Nearly 600 Whistler residents have been vaccinated, and free boosters are available at the Whistler Health Care Centre, Shoppers Drug Mart and Nesters Pharmacy.

Mumps is primarily transmitted through saliva, and young adults are advised not toshare drinks, cigarettes, utensils, or anything that might come in contact with saliva. Covering your mouth when you cough is also a good idea.

Mumps is a painful virus that causes fever-like symptoms and inflammation of the salivary ducts. In rare cases it is accompanied by swelling of the testicles or brain swelling, although it is very rarely fatal.

For more, visit www.vch.ca.

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