Mumps identified at Chilliwack school

Highly contagious virus spreads easily in the air

A case of mumps has been identified at a Chilliwack middle school.

A.D. Rundle middle school administration announced on Monday that someone within the school has been diagnosed with the highly contagious virus. They sent out an email and updated their Facebook page with the information. The mumps were once a common childhood disease, but has been controlled by immunization. There are two vaccines that protect against mumps that are available in B.C.

It can be a very painful illness, and can lead to further problems such as inflammation of the brain, mumps meningitis, and temporary deafness. About one in four adult men and teenaged boys with mumps will have painful swelling of the testicles and one in 20 women and teenage girls have swelling of the ovaries.

The Ministry of Health says symptoms may include fever, aches and pains, headaches, swelling of the salivary glands and especially the parotid glands at the side of the cheeks. But up to one in five people with the mumps do not have symptoms, and even more do not experience gland swelling. However, they can still spread the mumps to other people.

Symptoms can appear anywhere from 12 to 25 days after a person is infected with mumps virus, and a person with mumps can spread the virus to others between seven and nine days after symptoms develop.

Those with the mumps are asked to stay home for at least five days after swelling starts, wash hands regularly, cough or sneeze into a tissue, and not share food, drinks or cigarettes.

Any one who believes they or their children has the mumps is asked to call ahead to their doctor’s office, and avoid spreading germs in waiting rooms at walk-in clinics.

A bad outbreak also hit this region in 2011. Fraser Health confirmed on Tuesday that they are aware of the case in Chilliwack and are following up, but noted that there has been “nothing particularly unusual” in this city.

There has been no indication whether it’s an adult at the school or a student, and so far there are no other reported cases at the school. The Chilliwack School District says A.D Rundle is the only school in the district that has a reported case of the mumps.

A media representative for Fraser Health noted that this case serves as a good reminder to keep up to date on immunizations. Those can be obtained at a doctor’s office or walk-in clinic.

For more information, see the BC Centre for Disease Control’s fact sheet.