What is Mumps?
Mumps in an acute viral infection characterized by enlargement of the salivary glands in the check mainly the parotid glands. It is caused by the mumps virus.
How does mumps spread?
Mumps virus is present worldwide. Mumps tends to occur in winter or early spring. The virus is present in the saliva and spreads through airborne droplets. A patient will be able to transmit the virus from several days before the onset of the symptoms to almost 9 days after the symptoms arise.
Mumps can be prevented by giving MMR vaccine and thus incidence all over the world has now substantially decreased. Infection with the virus or vaccination with the MMR vaccine gives life long protection against a repeat infection.
What are the symptoms of mumps?
Most patients develop enlargement and pain in the salivary glands giving a swelling over both the cheeks. There is earache, pain in the jaws on chewing and dry mouth. The salivary gland swelling may initially be on one side but usually involves both the sides. The swelling resolves in about a week.
What are the complications of mumps?
Occasionally mumps virus may infect the testis (in boys). It is especially seen in adolescents on adults. The testis may be swollen and tender. This may be only on one side usually and seen 1-2 weeks after the salivary glands are infected. The pain in testis may last for 7-10 days.
Rarely, mumps may affect the brain (encephalitis) usually after several weeks after the initial infection. Patients may come with fever, headache and even fits (seizures).
Involvement of the pancreas is another manifestation of mumps and is seen in about 5 percent of the patients. Also very rarely deafness may occur.
How is the diagnosis of mumps made?
Mumps with salivary gland involvement is a clinical diagnosis. Blood test such as serum amylase may be elevated.
What is the treatment of mumps?
There is no specific cure. Painkillers are prescribed to decrease the pain over the glands. Also salt water gargles and lozenges may help to relieve the dry mouth and pain during chewing.
How is mumps prevented?
MMR vaccine given at 15 months helps to prevent mumps. It gives life long immunity again mumps.
Last created on 1-6-2006
Last updated on 18-11-2006