Immunization clinics held in Whistler, B.C., as confirmed mumps cases reach 11

By The Canadian Press
May 18, 2016 - 11:04am

VANCOUVER — Health officials in Whistler, B.C., have been holding immunization clinics almost daily since an outbreak of mumps was pinpointed in the resort community last week.

Dr. Paul Martiquet, medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, says quite a few people, especially the young and hospitality industry workers, have been vaccinated since the outbreak began.

Eight cases of the highly infectious virus were originally confirmed, along with three suspected cases.

Martiquet says all three suspected infections have now developed into mumps.

He says other cases of mumps have been reported in the Lower Mainland, but he doesn’t believe there is a connection.

Mumps causes fever and is often linked to swelling of the salivary glands located below the jaw and ears and under the tongue, but can be linked to rare and serious complications, including meningitis or deafness.

“We had an outbreak in Whistler in 2011 and there were about 70 cases then,” says Martiquet.

“(This is) just is a wake up call for us to make sure that people born after 1970 have had two doses of the vaccine, and some of them haven’t.”

Martiquet says some of the mumps cases in Whistler are among hospitality workers from Europe and Australia, and Coastal Health is supplying them with free doses of the vaccine.

The Canadian Press

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