Mumps is an infectious inflammatory viral disease caused by the paramyxovirus. It occurs mainly in children between the ages of 5 and 15. The virus is contagious for about a week before the disease breaks out and is spread by airborne droplets from the nose or throat. The disease is charecterised by swelling in the parotid salivary glands, which lie in the cheeks just in front of the ears on one side of the face. The virus can also effect other salivary glands, kidneys, thyroid gland, pancreas, sexual glands and meninges of the brain and spinal cord.
Incubation period is 2-3 weeks before symptoms start to appear. Symptoms include
• Head ache
• Sore throat
• Swelling of the parotid glands
• Pain while chewing or swallowing and opening the mouth.
Mumps begins with temperature and discomfort for the first two days followed by swelling of the gland. The swelling may be confined to one side or spread to the other side of the face. After three to four days or more the swelling subsides but remains infectious until the glands have returned to normal.
Usually the diagnosis is done based on the symptoms.
Usually Mumps is a part of growing up for children. Complications may arise especially in adults and youngsters past puberty. In adult men the disease may infect the testicles (orchitis) causing swelling, pain, soreness in the testicles and a higher temperature and in rare cases cause can cause infertility. Some women develop inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) but it doesn't effect fertility. Other rare complications may include Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) and inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) three to ten days after the onset of Mumps. Pancreatitis can cause vomiting and nausea leading to dehydration.
There is no specific treatment other than bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids and keeping the child isolated from others to prevent infection. Acidic foods and drinks like fruit juices should be avoided and food should be soft to make swallowing easy.
orchitis in adult men, icepacks are applied to relieve pain in the testes and
corticosteroids may be prescribed by the doctor. Meningitis which is a serious
disease require appropriate treatment in hospital.
Mumps can be prevented by immunization. The mumps vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine series given to children beginning at 12 months of age. This vaccine gives lifelong immunity against Mumps.
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