Mumps strike county

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Health-care workers being vaccinated

The mumps have arrived in Cumberland County.

An official with the Cumberland Health Authority said Thursday there are two laboratory-confirmed cases of the mumps in the area along with less than a dozen suspected cases.

"The second one was just yesterday, so it's still occurring," infection control-employee health co-ordinator Barb Caulfield said Thursday. "The pattern we're seeing is the spreading of mumps as the students come home from university and college. At first it was predominately Cape Breton, Halifax and Fredericton, but it has spread from there."

Caulfield said one of the cases in the county is a high school student while the other is around 30 years old. Mumps is spread through close, personal contact and anyone who thinks they have the disease should contact their family physician.

Mumps strike county

The mumps have arrived in Cumberland County.

An official with the Cumberland Health Authority said Thursday there are two laboratory-confirmed cases of the mumps in the area along with less than a dozen suspected cases.

"The second one was just yesterday, so it's still occurring," infection control-employee health co-ordinator Barb Caulfield said Thursday. "The pattern we're seeing is the spreading of mumps as the students come home from university and college. At first it was predominately Cape Breton, Halifax and Fredericton, but it has spread from there."

Caulfield said one of the cases in the county is a high school student while the other is around 30 years old. Mumps is spread through close, personal contact and anyone who thinks they have the disease should contact their family physician.

"It's generally a mild disease, but in some rare cases it can be severe," she said, adding the best way to prevent any infection is to wash your hands and not to share things like drinks and cigarettes.

Mumps includes fever, headache and inflammation of the salivary glands. In rare occasions it can lead to sterility in males, deafness or encephalitis. The disease is preventable by immunization.

Caulfield said all health-care workers in Cumberland County are presently being vaccinated through a series of clinics at the regional hospital and at hospitals in Springhill, Advocate Harbour, Parrsboro and Pugwash. They are also being offered to addictions/mental health staff and public health employees.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccination is being recommended and offered to all health-care workers, regardless of age. The only one who don't need are those who can present documentation proving that they've either had two doses of MMR vaccine or all three of measles, mumps and rubella infections or who have had a contraindication to MMR vaccine.

Among those receiving the vaccine on Thursday was Belinda Gouchie of laboratory services.

"I think it's important for our health and that of the patients to get this vaccination," she said.

Caulfield said health care workers have been more receptive to this immunization program than the annual flu campaign.

"The response is really good. People are leery about the flu vaccine, but they want this," she said. "We usually immunize 450 (health-care workers) through the flu campaign, but we're anticipating we'll immunize 500 to 600 this time."

Roughly 40,000 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine are available throughout the province for the campaign.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in February, around 240 cases of mumps have been reported across the province.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Cape Breton, Fredericton Springhill Advocate Harbour Pugwash

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