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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— With files from Carmen Chai, Global News