February 24, 2017 1:20 pm
Updated: February 24, 2017 8:02 pm

Toronto mumps outbreak linked to west-end bars spreads to more patients

WATCH ABOVE: 17 cases of mumps now confirmed in Toronto. Marianne Dimain reports.

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A mumps outbreak in Toronto linked to west-end bars has spread to three more people, bringing the total number of cases in the city to 17.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) confirmed the increase of cases of the contagious viral infection Friday, adding all the patients ranged from 18 to 35 years old and had previously frequented bars in the west end of the city.

“This may be a contributing factor in the circulation of this viral infection,” TPH spokeswoman Lenore Bromley said in a statement.

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“We continue to follow up with exposed individuals who are known to the confirmed cases.”

READ MORE: Mumps outbreak confirmed in Toronto, may be connected to west-end bars: officials

Five of the cases are men with orchitis, or the painful swelling of the testicles, and about 60 per cent of the cases were not immunized or did not have both doses of the vaccine. Forty per cent of the patients had two or more doses of the vaccine.

Public health officials said the risk of infection to the general public is low, but said it’s important for people to know the disease is circulating in Toronto.

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.

VIDEO: Toronto mumps outbreak linked to west end downtown bars

The agency said a “major factor” that can contribute to a mumps outbreak includes being in a crowded environment with someone who is infected — including being in the same class, attending the same sports team or living in a dorm.

The public is being advised to check immunizations records to ensure they are up to date with the mumps vaccine and check with healthcare providers if unsure.

People born after 1970 should have two doses of the vaccine.

READ MORE: Here is everything you to need to know about mumps

Symptoms of mumps can last up to 10 days and include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite and swelling and pain in one or more salivary glands in the sides of cheeks or jaw.

Complications from mumps can potentially be serious and include encephalitis, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles or the ovaries, pancreatitis and hearing loss.

Pregnant women infected with mumps during the first three months of pregnancy are also at risk of miscarriage.

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

TPH said those who have symptoms or who have been in contact with someone who has mumps to contact their doctor and inform them before going to their office so they can prepare and protect other patients.

The Toronto outbreak comes as other parts of the country have seen an increase in the spread of the viral infection.

Manitoba has seen 164 confirmed cases of mumps since Sept. 1, while Halifax has one confirmed case and Alberta Health Services is warning an outbreak could spread across the province after exposure through the Western Hockey League.

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

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