Everything you need to know about Toronto's mumps outbreak

Mar 10 2017, 11:14 pm

Mumps is back in the news again in Toronto.

The recent outbreak, which began about a month ago, continues to spread in the city.

As of noon on March 9, Toronto Public Health reported 31 confirmed cases, four of which were found in the Toronto District School Board.

The school cases were confirmed to be acquired from close contact with someone who already had mumps, and not from the school setting, according to Toronto Public Health. But they do warn that a broader community spread is still happening in the city.

So what is mumps and how did this all start?

Mumps is a virus that is found in saliva and respiratory droplets. It is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and coming into contact with a person’s saliva by sharing drinks or utensils, food or water bottles, or by kissing, according to Toronto Public Health.

One of the major factors contributing to outbreaks is being in a crowded environment, such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team or living in a dormitory with a person who has the mumps.

The Toronto outbreak began in February, and the City’s investigation has identified that many of these cases have frequented bars in the west downtown core of Toronto, which may be a contributing factor in the circulation of this viral infection.

All current cases involve individuals between 18 to 35 years of age.

Symptoms of mumps

The mumps infection causes fever, swelling of one or more salivary glands, loss of appetite, tiredness, and headache.

These symptoms can last up to 10 days.

Prevention and precaution

Do not share drinks or food if possible, especially in the City’s west end.

The City urges if you or your child have symptoms of the mumps and are ill, to contact your health care provider and not attend work or school. You’ll need to let the provider know you have symptoms of mumps in order for them to prepare for your arrival.

Individuals should ensure they are up-to-date with their vaccinations against the mumps. If you grew up in Canada, you can check your vaccinations with Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.

Is this normal?

Prior to the recent outbreak, mumps infection were rare in Toronto, with an average of five cases reported per year from 1997 to 2009.

This year, increased mumps activity has also been noted in Manitoba, Western Canada hockey teams, and other parts of Canada and United States, according to the City of Toronto.

So the answer is, no. This is a rare outbreak.

Stay healthy out there.

See also
DH Toronto StaffDH Toronto Staff

+ News