Dr. Denise Werker. Photo courtesy of Manfred Joehnck.

The province’s deputy medical health officer says it is just a matter of time before a mumps outbreak hits Saskatchewan.

Dr. Denise Werker held a briefing with reporters in Regina today to tell them what to look out for and what precautions to take.

There have already been outbreaks in Manitoba and Alberta among boys hockey teams, and it won’t be long before it gets here.

“My concern is it is just a matter of time,” she said. “The other thing we are doing is alerting health care providers about this, as there are many health care providers who have never seen mumps.”

Mumps is spread through saliva, things like sharing water bottles, close physical contact and kissing. Her advice is to keep your distance and keep your hands clean.

“The thing that we stress all the time is frequent hand-washing,” she said. “As well as not sharing water bottles, utensils, cigarettes and not kissing.”

A tell-tale sign of mumps is swelling of a major gland under the jaw bone. It can also cause swelling of the testicle, aches, pains and in rare cases — swelling of the brain and even death.

People born before 1970 are generally immune.

Children who have received two vaccination doses while in school are also likely protected.