December 23, 2009
Media Release

Increased mumps activity within York Region

People born between 1970 and 1991 may not be fully immunized against the mumps virus
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York has been notified by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of an increase of mumps activity within Ontario.  Between September 1st and December 21st, 47 confirmed cases of mumps have been reported across Ontario, nine of whom are York Region residents.  This compares to two cases of mumps reported in the 2008 calendar year in York Region.
 
“Most confirmed cases are university and high school students,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.  “These students may be at higher risk of the mumps virus because of their shared living arrangements and close social contacts.  In addition, this group is likely at higher risk for infection because they only received one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine as a child.”
 
Two doses of MMR vaccine normally provide life-long immunity, however individuals born in Ontario between 1970 and 1991 probably received only one dose of MMR vaccine.  During the “catch-up” measles campaign in 1996, the vaccine given only provided protection against measles.
 
York Region residents born between 1970 and 1991 are encouraged to contact their health care provider to determine if their immunizations are up-to-date, or if they require an additional dose of the MMR vaccine.
 
Mumps is a viral infection that causes fever, headache and painful swelling of one or more of the salivary gland at the angle of the jaw.  Mumps can be serious and cause swelling of the brain (encephalitis or meningitis).  It can also cause temporary or permanent deafness and swelling of the testes or ovaries which, although very rare, can result in infertility.
 
Mumps is spread by close or direct contact with the saliva or respiratory secretions of people with mumps (coughing, sneezing, kissing, sharing drinks and utensils, cigarettes).  During the holiday season when families and friends get together, York Region public health reminds residents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mumps and to practice infection control precautions to stay healthy and reduce the risk of illness.
 
To reduce the risk of illness:
• Wash your hands well and often; if soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains between 60 to 90 per cent alcohol
• Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hand; dispose of tissues immediately
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; germs spread this way
• Stay home when you are ill and limit your contact with others
• Clean and disinfect shared surfaces
 
People who are infected with the mumps virus should not attend daycare, school or work and should not participate in group activities for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. 
 
For more information on mumps and how to access the MMR vaccine, call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
  Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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