Avoid the mumps on spring break

Keep immunizations up to date, wash hands frequently, health officials advise

With spring break coming up,  Toronto Public Health advises those travelling to make sure all immunizations are up to date.

Last week Toronto Public Health recorded 31 cases of mumps on Toronto.

Most cases appeared among people age 18 to 35. Studies by public health found most individuals had frequented bars in west-end Toronto.

Michael Garron Hospital (formerly known as East York General Hospital), has not seen any cases yet, said Dr. Jeff Powis, director of infection prevention and control.

The mumps outbreak will likely not become an epidemic, Powis said.

“Most people are immune due to prior vaccination, and as a result mumps will not be able to spread extensively in the population,” he said.

Forest Hill Collegiate had its first case of mumps last week.

“A letter from Toronto Public Health was sent home to Forest Hill Collegiate parents,” school board spokesperson Shari Schwart-Maltz said.

She declined to make any other comments on the case.

In advice for those travelling on spring break, Toronto Public Health says symptoms of mumps can last 10 days, and begin to show 12 to 25 days after exposure.

Symptoms include a headache, fever, swelling of salivary glands, muscle aches and pains, and loss of appetite.

Toronto Public Health says the virus itself can be passed through saliva and respiratory droplets, such as sneezing and coughing.

Powis advises people to “wash your hands frequently.”

Mumps does not infect those who have had it before or those vaccinated with the MMR(measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

“Immunization against mumps is effective,”said Powis. The MMR vaccine is provided universally to children in Ontario.

Toronto Public Health also says if you notice symptoms and your doctor confirms it to be symptoms of the virus, you will not be able to travel and will have to stay home for five days.

“The number one thing to do to ensure your child is protected is to have the child immunized,” Powis said.