8 new Alberta mumps cases brings this year’s total to 38

A nurse draws a dose of mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine in this file photo.
A nurse draws a dose of mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ AP/The Wichita Eagle/Mike Hutmacher/File

Alberta Health Services has reported eight new cases of mumps across the province since last week. That brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases for 2017 to 38, up significantly from the eight reported in all of 2016 and four reported in 2015.

READ MORE: Alberta has seen 30 cases of mumps so far in 2017 

Of the 38 cases of mumps reported so far this year, 16 are in the Edmonton Zone, 15 are in the South Zone and seven are in the Calgary Zone.

While there is no declared outbreak of the mumps in Calgary, active outbreaks have been declared in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (including Lethbridge and Medicine Hat) and in Edmonton, specific to the University of Alberta. Outbreaks have also been declared elsewhere in Canada and in the United States.

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READ MORE: Hockey handshakes in Alberta banned during mumps outbreak

Mumps is a viral infection that is mostly preventable with the help of vaccines.

It has an incubation period of about two weeks and about a third of people who get infected with the virus don’t even show symptoms.

Mumps symptoms include fever, headache or earache, tiredness, sore muscles, dry mouth, trouble talking, chewing or swallowing and a loss of appetite.

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

Mumps can also lead to parotitis, or the swelling of the cheeks and neck.

“That’s the hallmark chipmunk cheeks we associate with the mumps,” said Jason Tetro, a Canadian microbiologist and author of The Germ Files.

READ MORE: AHS launching mumps info website as Alberta cases increase slightly 

With files from Carmen Chai and Caley Ramsay, Global News