If you’re swapping spit with a lot of folk—and that includes passing dutches and sharing drinks—you might wanna take it easy for a while because the mumps are back!
Due to concerns over a breakout on the east coast and three confirmed cases in our city, Toronto Public Health is warning citizens to be aware of mumps symptoms. Most of the time, mumps is hardly a concern to Torontonians, with only about five cases in the last five years, and people born before 1970 and after 1990 are likely immune anyway. Somewhere in there, however, are students, and students tend to live in close quarters, share drinks, and be slutty.
The mumps virus is transmitted primarily through saliva and is best known for a very painful swelling of the salivary glands, often giving victims the characteristic swollen neck and cheeks. Mumps is usually relatively harmless, causing fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and muscle aches, but in rare cases, can cause meningitis, encephalitis and inflamed testicles. Pregnant women in the first trimester are at a risk of miscarriage.
Most of the 267 cases in Eastern Canada have been among university students aged 20-25, and there are now nine confirmed cases in Ontario. Two of the Toronto cases are students who were going to school in Halifax, and the third is a friend of the other two, all of whom are reported to have had dinner on May 10 at Supermarket Restaurant in Kensington (268 Augusta) before coming down with symptoms. The infected can be contagious at least three days before symptoms appear and nine days after, and most people recover in about two weeks.
Babies born after 1990 have received a double-shot of the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine and are normally immune, and those older than 36-years-old usually contracted the mumps and therefore probable lifelong immunity. In Halifax, about 550 hospital workers have tested postive for mumps exposure, and about 136 are now in isolation on paid leave in an attempt to stem the outbreak. This particular strain can be traced back to a 2000 outbreak at Dalhousie University, and it can’t be known at this point if the outbreak will spread further across the country.
So, for now, don’t be bumming drags or kissing Maritimers—and always remember to cough into that sleeve.