WATCH ABOVE: What is mumps? Dr. Joanna Oda, a medical officer of health with AHS, explains what the virus is, how it spreads and the symptoms.
Thirty cases of lab-confirmed mumps have been reported in Alberta so far in 2017. That’s up from eight cases in all of 2016 and four cases in 2015.
Mumps outbreaks were previously declared in Alberta Health Service’s South and Edmonton Zones.
The outbreak in the Edmonton area is specific to the cases of mumps reported at the University of Alberta late last month, AHS said. Although the university said Wednesday it had not seen any new cases of mumps.
Mumps is a viral infection that is mostly preventable with the help of vaccines.
It has an incubation period of about two weeks and about a third of people who get infected with the virus don’t even show symptoms.
Mumps symptoms include fever, headache or earache, tiredness, sore muscles, dry mouth, trouble talking, chewing or swallowing and a loss of appetite.
Mumps can also lead to parotitis, or the swelling of the cheeks and neck.
“That’s the hallmark chipmunk cheeks we associate with the mumps,” said Jason Tetro, a Canadian microbiologist and author of The Germ Files.
Last week, AHS launched a dedicated mumps website to keep the public informed about the current situation and how people can protect themselves from the virus.
With files from Carmen Chai, Global News.