Feb 22, 2017

By Michael Kramer

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Public health officials in Toronto are investigating 14 mumps cases – apparently linked to bars downtown.

Toronto Public Health says the cases involve people between 18 to 35 – and they’re following up with people who are known to have been exposed to the confirmed cases.

Many of the people with mumps had frequently gone to bars in Toronto’s west downtown core – and officials say that may have been a contributing factor in the circulation of the viral infection.

The mumps virus lives in saliva and respiratory droplets – spreads through coughing, sneezing, and coming into contact with a person’s saliva – by sharing drinks or utensils, or by kissing.

A major factor contributing to outbreaks is people being in a crowded environment –  such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team or living in a dormitory with a person who has the mumps.

Health officials say the risk to the general public from the infection is low.

Infection from mumps can have complications which can include encephalitis, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles or the ovaries, pancreatitis and hearing loss.

As well, pregnant women who become infected with mumps during the first three months of pregnancy –  are at risk of miscarriage.

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