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Mumps is a communicable disease, and the causative virus is known as Paramyxovirus, which chiefly interferes with the function of salivary glands. Salivary glands present in mouth are responsible for saliva production; infection of these glands can lead to inflammation and pain. The visible characteristic feature of mumps is “chipmunk cheeks”. Person of any age can get infected by virus however; it’s most common in children. Cases with mumps are generally sited in underdeveloped countries, whereas in developed countries like U.K, there is a very low percentage of incidence of mumps, because they strictly follow the immunization program against mumps. The overall incidence of mumps infection has considerably reduced world-wide; because of the wide use of extremely effective vaccination programs.
Causes of mumps
Mumps infection can be transferred by
- Airborne droplets,
- contact of the saliva of a mumps bearing person
- Coughing-Sneezing of the affected person can throw infected droplets in the air
- By contacting an object used by an infected person
Symptoms and signs of mumps
The symptoms and signs of mumps can be observed by 16 to 18 days after being exposed to a virally infected person, that include
- High grade fever
- loss of appetite
- Inflammation in the salivary glands situated in the cheeks can lead to visible swelling of the cheek, that appear like “chipmunk cheeks”. This is a typical sign of mumps
- severe pain just below the jaw line at the time of chewing and gulping down food or while drinking
These characteristic signs of mumps usually alleviate within a week.
Possible Complications associated with mumps
Small children who are affected with mumps do not experience any serious complications, but adolescents and adults may undergo major complications after the attack of mumps infection. The complications associated with mumps infection include secondary infection of other body parts such as testis(orchitis), pancreas( pancreatitis),Ovaries (oophoritis) etc.
- few patient can develop everlasting hearing loss or temporary hearing disability
- Encephalitis (an uncommon condition due to mumps which is an inflammation of the brain and meningitis)
- Spontaneous abortion (in 12-16 weeks pregnant woman infected with mumps virus)
Diagnosis methods of mumps
Diagnosis is mainly based on the inflammatory symptoms and characteristic appearance. The blood test result may show low white cell counts along with high levels of serum protein amylase. To confirm the diagnosis, saliva is collected from the patient and tested in the laboratory.
Treatment options for Mumps
Since mumps is a viral infection, there is no precise treatment to cure mumps. The patients are prescribed medicines based on the extent of visible symptoms. They are advised to place warm and cold packs upon the salivary glands to alleviate the puffiness and pain. They will be instructed to avoid sour and acidic foods as they are found to increase the pain. It is practically seen that the patient gets back to normal soon on getting ample rest, intakes lots of liquid and consumes a nutritious diet which is easy to swallow.
Prevention methods for mumps
- Vaccination. The vaccine is administered during the age of 12 to 15 months, and the vaccination program is referred to as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization. A succeeding booster dose of MMR is administered at the age of 4-6 years
- If the patient has countered an attack of mumps, there is an enduring shield for a lifetime, therefore the chances of having another attack is almost zero
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