Alberta Health Services has reported eight new cases of mumps across the province since last week. That brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases for 2017 to 38, up significantly from the eight reported in all of 2016 and four reported in 2015.
While there is no declared outbreak of the mumps in Calgary, active outbreaks have been declared in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (including Lethbridge and Medicine Hat) and in Edmonton, specific to the University of Alberta. Outbreaks have also been declared elsewhere in Canada and in the United States.
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.