TDSB confirms two more cases of mumps amid city-wide outbreak
Rachael D'Amore, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017 3:08PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 7, 2017 7:25PM EST
Two more cases of mumps were discovered at Toronto elementary schools on Tuesday, bringing the city’s total to 28, Toronto Public Health says.
Three of those infected are students at Toronto public schools.
The school board confirmed one case of mumps yesterday but Toronto District School Board spokesperson Shari Shwartz-Maltz told CTV News Toronto Tuesday that there are two new confirmed cases of mumps at two different public schools
One of the new cases affects a students at King Edward Public School, on Lippincott Street near College and Bathurst streets, and the other at Hodgson Senior Public School on Davisville Avenue.
“Today, the staff, students and parents were notified about the mumps situation,” she told reporters Tuesday evening. “Today, a letter went out to parents again so that parents are aware of what to do to make sure their immunizations are up to date.”
Shwartz-Maltz said that Hodgson Senior Public School has a “high rate of immunization” with only one of 344 exempt from the vaccine. Immunization numbers for King Edward Public School were not provided.
Yesterday, the tally of mumps cases in the city sat at 26 with only one affecting a TDSB school.
That school was identified Monday as Forest Hill Collegiate. Shwartz-Maltz said of about 990 students, only 15 students had exemptions from the vaccine.
At the time, Shwartz-Maltz said school cleaning staff completed an intense cleaning of the whole school. The same protocol is expected to take place at the newly identified schools today and tomorrow.
“We have what we call a task force that will come into both schools which does intense additional disinfecting of particular high-contact areas. So stairwells, water fountains, desks, doorknobs,” Shwartz-Maltz said.
The cleaning is an “enhanced step,” she said, and is expected to take a couple of hours.
“We wished this situation was not in our schools but we’re doing everything we can so that everyone’s safe,” Shwartz-Maltz said.
In an earlier newsletter, school officials assured parents that they shouldn’t feel overly concerned about the case.
“The risk of acquiring the mumps in Toronto schools is low because most schools have high vaccination rates and the mumps vaccine is required for school attendance in Ontario,” the letter said. “Students who are not up-to-date with mumps vaccinations can be excluded from school.”
Still, the TDSB urged parents to take precautionary measures for themselves and for their children for the time being.
New cases came in contact outside of school
All three infected students were known to have been in contact with an individual with the mumps, according to Toronto Public Health spokesperson Dr. Vinita Dubey.
“It is most likely that they acquired the infection through these contacts and not at schools or a public place,” Dr. Dubey told CTV News Toronto in an email.
Dubey also said that two of the three students affected were “not adequately” immunized. The immunization status of the third case is unknown, she said.
The initial outbreak was apparently linked to bars in the city’s west-end, particularly Queen Street and King Street West from Spadina Avenue to Dufferin Street.
The number of cases, which sat around 14 last month, has grown ever since.
The mumps virus is spread through coughing, sneezing and coming into contact with saliva. Officials say it’s often contracted through kissing or when people share drinks or utensils, food or water bottles.
Symptoms include fever, swelling of salivary glands, a loss of appetite, headaches and tiredness.
In severe cases, mumps can cause infection in the brain, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, pancreatitis and hearing loss.
Pregnant women who become infected are also at a higher risk of miscarriage.
Toronto Public Health is reminding people to call their doctor and check their vaccination record.
Those born between 1970 and 1992, in particular, should check their records as they may have only received one of two necessary doses as a child.
According to Toronto Public Health, the city saw a total of 33 mumps cases in 2009 and 31 in 2010. Both outbreaks stemmed from a student from England whose mumps spread to the United States and Canadian cities, Dr. Dubey said.