Following up on the mumps outbreak in Manitoba, Canada, health officials with Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living said the number of patients rose to a staggering 176 since September, last year.
At first, most cases were associated with University students with ages ranging between 18 and 29 living in Winnipeg, actively involved with social activities or participating in various sports. However, the mumps outbreak is now starting to claim patients from all age groups throughout Manitoba, including school and pre-school aged individuals.
In light of these events, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living officials issued a letter informing the parents that teachers and educational facilities’ staff are aware of the situation at hand and have already been instructed to recognize the symptoms and prevent further spreading of the mumps virus.
According to health officials, the illness starts to manifest after 12 to 25 days following the first contact between the host and the mumps virus. If swift action is taken, the patient could be disease-free anywhere from three to ten days after onset of illness. Physicians explained the most common symptoms are swollen glands and neck (generally under the jaw or ears) and fever. Furthermore, experts say roughly 20 percent of the infected individuals don’t even show any symptoms. Also, approximately half of those infected experience breathing problems.
Health experts urge the population to take all precautionary measures, as the disease is highly contagious. Usually, a new host will contract the illness if he or she comes in contact with items that have been previously touched by a mumps carrier and then touching the mouth or eyes. Also, the virus can be passed on through respiratory droplets in the air that form as a result of sneezing or coughing. Ultimately, doctors recommend healthy individuals to not share drinks or foods with infected patients in order to halt the mumps outbreak.
Currently, health officials in the United States are debating whether a third dose of the MMR vaccine could stop the mumps outbreak that is sweeping through the country. However, even though an extra dose would indeed improve immunization against the virus, said practice could also lead to unknown adverse effects.
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