Health authorities are reminding the public to ensure they are vaccinated against mumps after recent cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region.

In a press release on Thursday officials from VCH said young adults heading off to high school, college and university should ensure they are protected against the mumps as last month alone there were 13 news cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which includes Whistler and Squamish.

The patients range in age from 18 to 33, with the average age being 25. This year 80 mumps cases have been reported in the VCH region since February, compared to 86 for all of 2016. So far in 2017 there have been 17 cases in Whistler (none in the last month) but no cases in Squamish. Carrie Stefanson, Public Affairs Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health says cases are tracked by residence, so it is possible that some of the 48 Vancouver cases were contracted in Whistler.

According to the release young adults living in shared spaces and those who have close contact with others in the same age group are more likely to contract the mumps. The virus is spread by contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, and spreads through droplets in the air. You can be exposed to the virus even if you are two metres away from someone with mumps.

To be protected against mumps, you need to have:

  • Two doses of mumps-containing vaccine if you were born after January 1, 1970
  • One dose of vaccine if you were born between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1969

If you were born before 1957 or have had the mumps infection, you are considered protected.

For more information about immunization click here or contact your physician.


Filed under: health, mumps, Sea to Sky, Squamish, Vaccine, Vancouver Coastal Health, VCH, Whistler