Halifax sees highest number of mumps cases in a decade

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Health authorities are warning the public about a string of mumps cases in the Halifax area.

There have been 14 confirmed cases of mumps confirmed in the Halifax area this year, according to the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

That number includes two cases earlier this year at Dalhousie University.

All of the people infected were in the age range of 20 to 36 years old.

Those born in 80s, early 90s likely have less immunity

Younger people are likely catching the virus because of how the vaccine was administered in the 1980s and early 1990s, according to Dr. Trevor Arnason, the region’s medical officer of health.

“Individuals who are in their 20s and 30s were likely immunized as children with only one dose of vaccine [and] are still able to spread it amongst each other,” Arnason said.

That was before a second dose of the vaccine was added in the mid-nineties.

Mumps spread through kissing, sharing drinks

There’s also another reason why authorities believe the rates may be so high in this age bracket.

“Many of the people who have presented symptoms [of mumps] have been at parties or local bars,” said Arnason, adding that some social activities make people more susceptible.

“The virus is spread by respiratory droplets, so it’s easily spread by kissing, sharing drinks, sharing lipstick, lip gloss, cigarettes — those types of things,” he said.

“Even talking very close to someone in an enclosed space would be enough to transmit the virus.”

Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen and tender glands on the jaw, as well as swollen and tender testicles in teenage and adult men.

Experts say everyone — especially young people — should check their immunization records and get an extra dose of the vaccine if they need it.

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Halifax sees highest number of mumps cases in a decade

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