March 1, 2017 3:00 pm
Updated: March 1, 2017 6:47 pm

AHS launching mumps info website as Alberta cases increase slightly

WATCH ABOVE: What is mumps? Dr. Joanna Oda, a medical officer of health with AHS, explains what the virus is, how it spreads and the symptoms.

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Six cases of mumps have been reported in the Edmonton region and four in the Calgary zone — up from three last week — according to Alberta Health Services, which is in the process of launching a website to keep the public informed about the latest uptick.

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AHS said its web team is building a mumps data website intended for the media and the public to access the latest information. It was up and running Wednesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about mumps and why it’s making a comeback

So far this year the Edmonton zone has seen six cases of the viral infection. Last week, the University of Alberta said four of the cases involved students enrolled in the School of Business and they were all linked.

Last week’s advisory at the U of A came after nine cases of mumps were reported in southern Alberta, after exposure to the virus from some players for the Medicine Hat Tigers, a team in the Western Hockey League.

READ MORE: Western Hockey League tries to minimize spread of mumps as AHS warns of outbreak

The southern zone cases remain unchanged from last week. No cases have been detected in central and northern Alberta.

Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection. It has an incubation period of about two weeks. After that, the symptoms will kick in: fever, headache or earache, tiredness, sore muscles, dry mouth, and the trademark puffy cheeks and neck — known as parotitis.

The mumps virus is found in saliva and respiratory droplets and is spread through coughing, sneezing and coming into contact with saliva by kissing, sharing drinks, utensils, food or water bottles.

READ MORE: Why the NHL locker room is the perfect catalyst for a mumps outbreak

Mumps usually goes away in about 10 days, but, in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain, the testicles, the ovaries, or the pancreas.

The increase in cases has prompted both Hockey Calgary and Hockey Alberta to send memos to the organizations they govern to temporarily halt handshakes. It also recommended players not share water bottles.

READ MORE: Hockey handshakes in Alberta banned during mumps outbreak

From the Vancouver Canucks to west-end bars in Toronto, mumps outbreaks are being reported across the country.

In Manitoba, 176 cases have been confirmed, according to the province’s health officials. The 176 confirmed cases reported to the health department were between Sept. 1, 2016 and Feb. 24, 2017.

READ MORE: Manitoba records at least 176 confirmed cases of mumps in 6-month period

— With files from Carmen Chai, Global News

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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