NEWS
06/03/2016 13:56 EDT | Updated 06/04/2017 01:12 EDT

Whistler mumps outbreak spreads to Lower Mainland, 41 now infected

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 does 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.