Toronto Public Health investigating mumps outbreak


Public health officials in Toronto say they're investigating 14 mumps cases apparently linked to bars in the city's downtown.
   
Toronto Public Health says the lab-confirmed cases involve people between 18 to 35 years of age, and they're following up with people who are known to have been exposed to the confirmed cases.
   
Investigators say many of the people with confirmed cases had frequented bars in Toronto's west downtown core, adding this may have been a contributing factor in the circulation of the viral infection.
   
The mumps virus is found in saliva and respiratory droplets, and is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and coming into contact with a person's saliva by sharing drinks or utensils, or by kissing.
   
Health officials say a major factor contributing to outbreaks is 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.
   
They say the risk to the general public from the infection is low.
   
Complications from mumps infection can include encephalitis, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles or the ovaries, pancreatitis and hearing loss.
   
Pregnant women who become infected with mumps during the first three months of pregnancy are at risk of miscarriage.