Chinook Health identifies mumps cases in Lethbridge
Friday, October 26, 2007
Chinook Health has confirmed three cases of mumps among students at the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.
Mumps is caused by a virus that usually spreads through saliva. It can infect many parts of the body, especially the parotid salivary glands located in front of the ears and above the jaw. In cases of mumps, these glands typically swell and become painful.
“Normally, those who have previously had mumps or been immunized should not be affected. However, some of those who have been immunized may experience mild symptoms due to waning immunity,” says Dr. Vanessa Maclean, Acting Medical Officer of Health. “Patients without prior immunization may experience more severe symptoms.”
Common symptoms of mumps include:
- Fever of up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius)
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling and pain in the parotid saliva glands, making the ndividual look like a hamster with food in its cheeks
- increased and painful swelling over a period of 1 to 3 days
- Pain that gets worse when the individual swallows, talks, chews, or drinks acidic juices (like orange juice)
In rare cases, mumps can infect other salivary glands instead of the parotids. If this happens, swelling may be noticed under the tongue, under the jaw, or all the way down to the front of the chest. It can also cause painful swelling in the testes or ovaries.
For most that become infected, the symptoms will run their course in one to two weeks with no treatment.
However, mumps is highly contagious. Individuals who suspect they may have mumps should remain away from other people, school or work for at least nine days following the onset of symptoms, and contact Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 (LINK) before visiting a medical office or the ER.