OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER
TRAVEL HEALTH NOTICE
Mumps Information for Coaches, Recreation Coordinators, School Principals and Parents
Several Canadian provinces are experiencing a mumps outbreak. While members of professional
sport teams have been the most affected by these outbreaks, it has also impacted individuals in
other settings. If you are travelling outside of the NWT, please ensure that your vaccines are
up to date and you take precautions to avoid being exposed to this disease.
Mumps is a contagious virus that causes painful swelling of the cheeks and neck, fever, dry mouth,
headache, earache, fatigue, sore muscles, loss of appetite, and trouble talking, chewing, or
swallowing. Most healthy people usually recover from mumps within 10 days. In rare cases it can
cause serious complications such as deafness, meningitis, and infections of the testicles or
Mumps is spread easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You become
infected when you breathe in air or touch a surface contaminated with the virus. Mumps can also be
spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva, such as kissing; sharing food and drinks;
or sharing cigarettes. A person with mumps can spread the virus for about seven days before
symptoms start showing.
To avoid getting mumps make sure immunizations are up to date. To avoid spreading or being exposed
to mumps, wash hands thoroughly and often, avoid sharing water bottles and other items contaminated
with saliva, and cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or forearm.
In the NWT, mumps vaccination is offered to residents at no charge. If students and athletes have
not received a total of two doses of mumps-containing vaccine, they should contact their local
health centre or public health unit to get the vaccination. Please note that pregnant women
should not receive the mumps vaccine.
Individuals who think they might have mumps should contact their local health centre or family
doctor. For the safety of others, it’s important for people to call ahead and describe their
symptoms before going to a health centre or doctor’s office. People with mumps should stay home
from school/work/sports for at least five days after symptoms appear.
Contact your local public health unit or health centre if you have questions about the mumps or the
vaccine. More information can be found here:
André Corriveau, MD, MBA, FRCPC