February 23, 2018

 RE: Mumps activity in Nova Scotia

The following is an update on mumps activity across Nova Scotia. The activity that started in Central Zone in November continues, where 28 cases of mumps have been confirmed. In addition, there are now 12 cases confirmed in Eastern Zone, mainly in the Antigonish area. While the cases range in age from 19 to 53, the primary group impacted are individuals ages 19 to 25, many from the post-secondary community.

NSHA Public Health, with support from Nova Scotia Health and Wellness, will continue to manage and assess mumps activity and will deliver interventions as needed. There is an increased likelihood that you may see patients with symptoms of mumps or who present for vaccination against mumps. The following information is being provided to help you care for patients and support containing the spread of mumps in the province.

Mumps info – symptoms, testing and protocols

Mumps is a viral disease spread through direct and indirect contact with infected oral and nasal secretions. The incubation period is typically two to three weeks. Symptoms may include swelling and pain in one or more of the salivary glands (usually parotitis), fever, headache, and aching muscles and joints. More severe symptoms such as severe headache, stiff neck, painful or swollen testicles, or severe abdominal pain may also occur.

If you assess a patient in whom you are concerned about mumps, please:

  • Notify your local Public Health office during regular business hours
  • After hours call the Medical Officer of Health on-call at 1-902-473-2222.
  • Perform the following testing (after the onset of parotitis):

o   Buccal swab in viral transport media (pink fluid) for mumps PCR

o   Urine for mumps PCR

  • Advise patients to remain home for five (5) days from the onset of parotitis

Healthcare workers who have been exposed or diagnosed with mumps should be advised to contact occupational health in their workplace as soon as possible so that a determination can be made whether (and for how long) the healthcare worker needs to remain out of the workplace. Healthcare workers may require immunization and/or bloodwork to determine whether or not they are immune or require further immunization.

Mumps immunization

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Please use this opportunity to ensure that your patients’ immunizations are up to date. In Nova Scotia, all individuals born in 1970 or later are eligible to receive two (2) doses of MMR vaccine.

If you have any questions please reach out to your local Public Health office.