VCH Public Health has been working with the Vancouver Canucks on a mumps outbreak. Several Canucks players and staff, and others in the community have been confirmed with having the highly contagious viral illness.
The Canucks announced last week that several players and staff were ill. Troy Stecher, Michael Chaput, Nikita Tryamkin and Christopher Tanev had the illness. Nurses screened and vaccinated players and staff, and looked into how the outbreak began.
Mumps is spread by contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus spreads through droplets in the air. You can be exposed to the virus even if you are two meters away from someone with mumps. Sharing food, drinks or cigarettes, or kissing someone who has the virus can also put you at risk.
If you were born after January 1, 1970, you need to have two doses of mumps-containing vaccine to be protected.
If you were born before 1970 or know that you have had mumps infection, you are considered protected.
Mumps vaccine is usually given as MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). Since a second dose of MMR was not added to routine vaccination schedule in B.C. until 1996, many adults born between 1970 and 1996 are not fully protected. If you are not sure if you have complete protection, it is safe for you to receive another dose of MMR vaccine.
The mumps vaccine is 88% effective in preventing illness after two doses, and 78% after one dose. Outbreaks can occur in immunized groups who live and work in close proximity–college campuses sports teams etc, but those outbreaks are much smaller if people are immunized.