March 17, 2017 7:16 am
Updated: March 17, 2017 12:17 pm

Beware of mumps while enjoying festivities on St. Patrick’s Day

Ana from Spain enjoys outdoor Céilí dances on the eve of St Patrick's Day. On Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Health officials in Toronto are telling people to be mindful of the mumps outbreak while enjoying St. Patrick’s Day festivities across the city on Friday.

The mumps virus can be spread through sharing drinks or utensils and being in crowded environments.

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“Given that there is a mumps outbreak in the Greater Toronto Area we have to be cautious about spreading the infection to other people,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch of the Toronto General Hospital.

As of noon on March 15, Toronto Public Health have reported 43 confirmed cases of mumps in the city.

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

Officials said most of the cases are among individuals between the ages of 18 to 35. Four of them have been linked to staff or students in schools.

“We’re a little bit concerned about people in their late 20s to late 30s,” Dr. Bogoch said. “People who were born between 1970 and 1992, they might have only received one dose of the mumps vaccine and we know two doses of the mumps vaccine is much more protective.”

Health officials are encouraging the public to check their vaccination records. Public Health said people born in 1970 or later should have two doses of the mumps vaccine.

READ MORE: Whatever you do, don’t commit these St. Patrick’s Day faux pas

The health agency is also reminding people to watch for symptoms of mumps such as fever, swelling of one or more salivary glands, loss of appetite, tiredness and headaches.

Toronto Public Health sent out letters to schools, parents, child care centres, bars and restaurants earlier this month to notify them about the proper precautions to take to mitigate the spread of the mumps virus.

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