BC experiencing mumps outbreak
BC’s lower mainland is experiencing a mumps outbreak, largely in young adults. This outbreak is the first sizeable mumps outbreak in BC since 2008, and extends across two health authorities.
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is reminding all British Columbians that mumps is preventable through vaccination. The public are advised to check their immunization record and make an appointment to get their vaccinations up to date. MMR vaccine is provided free of charge.
In BC, children receive two doses of mumps vaccine at 12 and 18 months. The vaccine is given as the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and provides protection against all three diseases. For best protection against mumps, those born in 1970 and later should also receive two doses.
Anyone who suspects they have mumps should contact their physician by telephone first or call the HealthLink BC at 811. Mumps is contagious so anyone with this infection should avoid exposing others especially in medical waiting rooms and emergency rooms.
Symptoms of mumps include fever, sore throat or cough, swelling of the salivary glands (usually the parotid glands, resulting in ‘chipmunk cheeks’). Mumps can cause meningitis, and orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) which is more common in adult males and rarely results in sterility, as well as other serious complications such as deafness. It is spread by respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing but also direct contact such as kissing or sharing utensils or water bottles.
For more information on mumps or the MMR vaccine, please visit: