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Health Canada warns of mumps outbreak in U.S.


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Health Canada warns of mumps outbreak in U.S.

Health Canada has issued a warning to travellers to ensure their shots are up-to-date following an outbreak of mumps in the U.S.

The virus has struck in the U.S. Midwest, spreading through at least seven states and infecting more than 600 people. It's the largest mumps outbreak in the United States since 1988.

There has been an average of 265 mumps cases a year in the U.S. since 2001. In Iowa, an average of five cases has been reported annually since 1996.

Between December 2005 and April 2006, Iowa recorded 515 confirmed, probable, and suspect cases of mumps, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Health officials say it has appeared in half of Iowa's 99 counties. Those aged 18 to 22 have been infected the most.

Other states also reporting cases are Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Mumps is an acute viral disease with symptoms that include fever, swelling and fatigue. It is spread by direct contact with or inhalation of the secretions from an infected person's nose or mouth.

Children and teens are most likely to get it. For adults, complications can be more severe: deafness, sterility and death are possible, but extremely rare.

Mumps is also considered rare since the introduction of a vaccine nearly 40 years ago. Many of those infected in Iowa had been inoculated.

Officials are investigating that a significant proportion of cases have been reported in individuals who had been previously vaccinated with two doses.



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