August 27, 2008

At Least 116 People Infected in Mumps Outbreak in Western Canada

At least 116 people infected in mumps outbreak in western Canada

OTTAWA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 116 people have been confirmed of being infected and another 74 suspected cases under investigation following a mumps outbreak in western Canada's British Columbia province, health officials said Tuesday.

The outbreak began in a religious community in the Fraser Valley when two people from neighboring Alberta province carried the mumps there. Due to their religious belief, many residents of the area do not have vaccinations, leading to the outbreak, officials of the Fraser Health Authority said.

The outbreak has spread westward to urban areas, including Vancouver and nearby cities. Health officials have warned people to make sure they are immunized against the disease.

Meanwhile, experts from the Fraser Health Authority were meeting to decide whether additional efforts are needed to control the spread of the preventable disease, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall told reporters Tuesday.

He advised people to ensure their immunizations are up to date and avoid sharing drinking gear, straws or cigarettes, as the disease can be transmitted through saliva exchange.

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