Nunavummiut urged to get measles and mumps vaccine before travelling

Nunavut's Health department is asking residents to add the measles and mumps vaccine to their travel checklists.

Department of health cautions Nunavummiut travelling south for hockey tournaments

Both measles and mumps are covered by the same vaccine. (Associated Press)

Nunavut's Health department is asking residents to add the measles and mumps vaccine to their travel checklists.

"There's a lot of advertising and attention paid to international travel," said Mike Patterson, a physician with the Department of Health, but this public service announcement was aimed at people traveling to southern Canada.

There has been an uptick of confirmed cases in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

Patterson cautions Nunavummiut who might be travelling as part of a sports team to pay special attention to updating their immunizations, noting recent news coverage about hockey players contracting mumps.

"It's nothing particular about being a sports player, in fact they tend to be healthy, but sports tournaments tend to bring a lot of people together into a large group," Patterson said.

Common tournament activities, like sharing a bottle of water, can bring players in close enough contact to contract the infections.

Mumps can manifest as swelling in the back of the cheek, just in front of the ear. Men and boys may also have pain caused by swollen testicles.

Measles is associated with fever, fatigue, aches and pains, and a red rash.

While a rash could be caused by any number of things, Patterson urges anyone who's experiencing similar symptoms to visit a doctor, even if they have been vaccinated.

Vaccinations are free in local health centres and at Iqaluit's Public Health. 

with files from Kieran Oudshoorn