Second Dose Of Mumps Vaccine Can Prevent Outbreak
Ottawa Public Health is encouraging young adults to get a second dose of the mumps vaccine at one of the scheduled free clinics being held at four post-secondary campuses and within the community between January and March. It's part of a larger provincial Mumps Vaccination Catch-up Program.
Most young people born between 1970 and 1995 have received only one dose of the MMR (Mumps/Measles/Rubella) vaccine, for maximum protection two doses are required. Following new recommendations in 1996, most children now receive two doses of the vaccine before entering elementary school.
"Young adults are encouraged to check their immunization records to see if they require a second dose," says Mayor Larry O'Brien. "If the records cannot be located or show only one dose was administered, they should take advantage of the free catch-up clinics."
" Cases of mumps have been increasing across Canada over recent years," says Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee. "Several outbreaks have occurred in four provinces – mostly at universities."
Young adults are more at risk of contracting the mumps due to their close living conditions, socializing habits, and other lifestyle risk factors. Young people who contract the mumps must be isolated at home for at least nine days to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Mumps is a highly contagious disease that can be spread person-to-person from direct respiratory droplets from the mouth or nose; this can happen when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms usually last ten days, and can include, painful swelling of one or salivary glands, usually accompanied by fever, headache and loss of appetite.
Mumps can have serious complications including encephalitis and meningitis, hearing loss, permanent deafness and swelling of the reproductive organs (testicles and ovaries), which can cause infertility.
"Considering the potential impact on both your health and your schedule, ensuring you are fully vaccinated is your best defence," says Isra Levy, the City's Medical Officer of Health.