Manitoba

Mumps outbreak 'not gone yet' but rate of new cases slowing down: Manitoba Health

Manitoba's mumps outbreak, now entering its eighth month, is still infecting people, but not as severely or for as long as before, according to the province.

As of April 28, there were 345 confirmed cases in Manitoba; the average is between 4 and 8 per year

Confirmed cases of the mumps in Manitoba have hit 345 since Sept. 1, 2016, an increase of 55 cases in three weeks. (iStock)

Manitoba's mumps outbreak, now entering its eighth month, is still infecting people, but not as severely or for as long as before, according to the province.

As of April 28, 345 cases of the viral infection have been confirmed by Manitoba Health since September 1, 2016. An increase of 55 cases in the last three weeks has boosted that number. 

"Unfortunately it's not gone yet," said Dr. Richard Rusk, a provincial medical officer of health. "We're still going to see increasing numbers for at least another month, if not longer."

Rusk said the number of new confirmed cases province-wide is going up at a slower rate, following a bump in new cases about a month ago. He has previously speculated the number of cases could surpass 600 in Manitoba. On Monday, Rusk declined to speculate further on where the numbers will end up. 

In comparison, Saskatchewan has confirmed 34 mumps cases so far this year, while 65 have been confirmed in Alberta. North Dakota has seen just four confirmed cases in 2017, according to data from the state's health department. Another 23 are either suspected or probable mumps cases. 

Manitoba typically sees between four and eight cases per year. 

While the outbreak started in university students and sports teams, Rusk said it has moved on from those two groups. 

"Honestly it is a trickle... those numbers have been going down in comparison to general community cases," he said when asked if university students returning home to rural areas for the summer should be cause for concern. 

The outbreak, which has been concentrated on specific groups, is now more generalized. New cases are being confirmed in all regions of the province, including in a small number of people who have been vaccinated for the mumps.

However Rusk said the infection isn't as severe or lasting nearly as long in those people. 

He said vaccinating is still the best way of preventing the spread of the mumps. 

"Our message again and again and again is we have safe, effective vaccines," he said. "The resurgence of these vaccine-preventable diseases [is] becoming more and more common and it's quite worrisome."

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