06/03/2016 08:52 EDT | Updated 06/04/2016 11:59 EDT

Mumps Outbreak In Whistler, B.C. Spreads To Metro Vancouver

The outbreak started in Whistler and spread to Metro Vancouver.

ROBYN BECK via Getty Images
A nurse loads a syringe with a vaccine against hepatitis at a free immunization clinic for students before the start of the school year, in Lynwood, California August, 27, 2013. Nurses are immunizing children in preparation for the first day of public school on September 3. The clinic offers the mandatory vaccinations for school children against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and chickenpox as well as some optional ones. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

WHISTLER, B.C. — A mumps outbreak in Whistler, B.C., has spread to nearby municipalities.

Vancouver Coastal Health says 41 people in Whistler, Squamish, North Vancouver and Vancouver have been reported to have the highly contagious illness.

Mumps can cause fever and swelling of salivary glands in the face, and has been linked in rare cases to meningitis and temporary deafness.

Medical officer Dr. Althea Hayden says the average age of patients impacted by the outbreak is 33, so most of the people infected were not fully vaccinated against the viral infection.

The health authority says anyone born after January 1, 1970 needs two doses of vaccine to be protected, and a second dose was not added to B.C.'s routine vaccine schedule until 1996.

The vaccine is available for free from pharmacists, family doctors and most walk-in health clinics.

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