rategy that targets the vulnerable cohort.
Those infected are asked to isolate themselves at home for nine days. According to Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist at Halton Healthcare Services in Ontario, the current strain of mumps originated in Britain, where there was a large outbreak in 2004. Immunization rates had dropped significantly in Britain because many people believed the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism. The vaccine-autism link has since been disproved, experts note.
The disease reached Iowa last year, and Rau says it has now found its way into Canada.
'It's global travel compounded with vaccine refusal,' he stresses.
Dr. Rau is of the opinion that it's difficult to predict how long this disease will last and how far it will spread. About 30 per cent of people who have the mumps show no symptoms.
'It definitely seems to be confined to the university-age population so far,' he said. 'There's no question we will see more cases in Canada as students return home.'
Nova Scotia is starting a mumps immunization program for health-care workers.
The immunization program will begin as early as next week with roughly 40,000 doses of the MMR vaccine being made available to health-care workers.
Dr. Shelly Sarwal, the province's medical officer of health, says the vaccination program will help the maintain health services in the province.
'We feel this is an important public health measure,' Sarwal was quoted. 'A vaccination campaign will not stop the outbreak, but what it will do is help to manage absenteeism in health-care workers as a result of the mumps, and therefore help sustain the health-care system for Nova Scotians.'
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