Nunavut promotes vaccinations as protection against mumps

Adults may also need vaccinations


This photo shows the kind of swelling that can occur with the infectious virus, mumps. (PHOTO/WIKIPEDIA)

This photo shows the kind of swelling that can occur with the infectious virus, mumps. (PHOTO/WIKIPEDIA)

(Updated at 3 p.m.)

Get vaccinated against mumps if you’re not sure whether you have been immunized against this infectious virus.

The Nunavut health department said March 6 that it planned to check with the chief medical officer in Nunavut to see whether mumps cases have been detected in Cambridge Bay, after a local woman talked about it on Facebook.

Ron Wassink, spokesperson for the health department, said in a later communication that “there are no mumps in Cambridge Bay.”

The health department’s PSA, issued Feb. 27, urged Nunavummiut travelling out of the territory to make sure their immunizations were up to date, because there have been cases of measles and mumps confirmed in some parts of Canada.

Since last September, there have been 184 confirmed cases of mumps in Manitoba, as well as confirmed cases in other places, such as Toronto, and suspected cases in Alberta.

Vaccinations offering protection against mumps—which also protects against measles—are free at health clinics in Nunavut.

Mumps is preventable with two injected doses of the vaccine. given in combination with a vaccine against measles and rubella, usually when children are about one year old and again between the ages of four and six years.

Adults can also be vaccinated.

And if you do not have written documentation that you have received the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccine, public health officials say you should get vaccinated.

Highly contagious, mumps spreads quickly though coughing, sneezing or, for example, sharing utensils. Its first signs include fever, muscle pain, headache and fatigue.

The most common symptom of mumps is a swelling of the glands that produce saliva. This swelling can make the cheek or neck bulge out on one or both sides.

Sometimes the virus can cause more serious complications, like hearing loss or swelling of other glands, including the testicles, said a March 1 public health reminder from Canada’s chief medical officer.

Some people with mumps will have no symptoms, but symptoms in adults can be severe, leading to brain infections and painful testicular swelling which can lead to infertility in men. Mumps can also trigger miscarriages in pregnant women.

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